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KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
This is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma, abuse & tragedy are never reported.
American states are struggling to find answers for saving at risk children and reversing the explosive growth of child abuse and neglect.
The U.S. is experiencing the 4th and 5th generation of abused children raising their own families without parenting skills and with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues.
37% of children overall and 57% of Black children are reported to child protection services in America by the time they turn 18. (American Journal of Public Health January 2017)
12 million children a year are reported to child protection services each year and in many states, 1/3 of foster children are required to take psychotropic medicines Florida reports 48% of its foster children are forced to take Prozac like drugs.
Compilation of information and writing on the Sad Stories pages are the hard work of David Vang, Mike Toronto, Jamar Weston, Adolf Nchanj and Blaz Zlate, Callie Benscoter, (student volunteers at Century College) Katie Frake, Boston College, Julie O, and KARA.
All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children
AZ: Foster parents must adapt to tougher DCS safety inspections (Opinion)
Havasu News – March 15, 2017
In January of 2016, Arizona’s Department of Child Safety revised its rules for life safety inspections. With the new administrative code – which includes more detail about animals, firearms and other safety precautions – inspection deficiencies “skyrocketed,” said DCS life safety inspections unit manager Thea Bish.
CO: CGI Wins First Three Phases of Colorado’s Agile Child Welfare System Modernization
Government Technology – March 16, 2017
Colorado has chosen CGI to complete the first three phases of a modular contract to replace a heavily integrated child welfare system. The system, called TRAILS, has existed since 2001 and serves about 5,600 users across all 64 counties in Colorado and multiple state agencies, according to bid documents. According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, some components of the system have lost vendor support, resulting in HIPAA violations. About 30 percent of county caseworkers’ time in the system is spent on documentation, and it’s difficult to navigate to boot.
CO: State funding fends off Human Services layoffs in Larimer County
Reporter-Herald – March 16, 2017
A move by the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee this week may have saved between five and seven jobs of child welfare workers in Larimer County – at least, for now. The committee saved Larimer and other counties in the state from having to pay for an accounting error at the state level that goes back to at least 2003, according to Larimer County Human Services Deputy Director Heather O’Hayre.
GA: Senate alters adoption bill, prompting discrimination charge
Associated Press – March 16, 2017
Private adoption agencies that receive state funding could refuse to provide services based on religious faith and other priorities under a last-minute change swiftly approved Thursday evening by Republicans in a Georgia Senate committee.
IN: Legislature eases road to learner’s permits for foster kids
Evansville Courier & Press – March 16, 2017
When teenagers in Indiana try to obtain a learner’s permit, they need a signature from a parent. For those in a standard household, that’s fairly simple — but for those in the foster care system, the measure can keep them from driving until they are 18.
ME: Forum: Education continues on Wabanaki plight
Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal – March 16, 2017
In 2015, a report focusing on Maine Wabanaki children and decades of discriminatory practices in the child welfare system was meant to spark changes and begin the healing process for the state’s native tribes. For Wabanakis and members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a group tasked with implementing the report’s recommendations, that process is far from over.
NE: Bill Seeks to Lower Child Welfare Case Loads
Unicameral Update – March 15, 2017
A bill aimed at reducing child welfare caseloads was considered March 14 by the Appropriations Committee. LB189, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, would appropriate $500,000 in general funds in each of the next two fiscal years to the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The funds would be used by DHHS solely for recruitment and retention of child welfare caseworkers to ensure that state caseload standards are met and maintained.
OH: Foster Parents wanted-Click for details with Mercer County children’s services (Audio)
WCSM – March 16, 2017
Mercer County is in need of foster parents to assist area children in crisis. Tonya Siefring is a foster parent and a case worker for Mercer County Children’s Services.
OH: Heroin’s young victims: More children in foster care due to heroin epidemic (Includes video)
WKRC – March 14, 2017
More children are being removed from their homes in Ohio than ever before. There’s new evidence that Ohio’s heroin epidemic has a lot to do with it. Some people on the front line of child welfare want to know why the state isn’t putting more resources into helping those children.
OR: Rep. Piluso’s Foster Youth Sibling Bill of Rights Passes Oregon House (Press release)
Office of State Representative for Oregon Carla Piluso – March 16, 2017
House Bill 2216, the Foster Sibling Bill of Rights, passed the Oregon House this morning on a unanimous vote. The bill defines rights for foster siblings, including the right of foster youth to live in homes where foster parents have been trained on the importance of sibling relationships, require more privacy for sibling communication, be notified in a timely manner if a sibling experiences a catastrophic event, and develop a contact plan if siblings are not placed in foster care together.
Information Gateway resource: Sibling Groups: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/adoptive/who-are-the-children-waiting-for-families/sibling-groups/
TX: House leaders push for withdrawing $1 billion more from state savings account
Texas Tribune – March 16, 2017
Entities that face budget cuts absent a cash infusion include the state’s public education system, pensions for retired teachers, and the Texas child welfare and foster care system charged with protecting vulnerable children from abuse and neglect, Zerwas said.
TX: No effect locally following state hiring freeze (Opinion)
Sealy News – March 16, 2017
It’s coming up on two months since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to tighten their belts to the last notch and hunker down until August for an imposed hiring freeze. Supposedly, the freeze will save about $200 million that could be used for other priorities and emergency items set out during Abbott’s State of the State Address on Jan. 31. The governor listed four emergency items as top of the list for lawmakers during the 85th legislative session: Child Protective Services, banning sanctuary cities, implementing meaningful ethics reform and a resolution calling for a Convention of States.
UT: No Place Like Home (Includes video)
ABC4 Utah – March 14, 2017
House Bill 199 is known as the “High Needs Child Bill.” It closes a legal loophole that currently allows custody of a child to be transferred without any regulated vetting process. “We use the term re-homing,” says Attorney General Sean Reyes
WA: Bill to create new Department for Child Services passes House
Columbia Basin Herald – March 16, 2017
The house passed a bipartisan bill to separate services DSHS provides for children, such as early learning, juvenile services and child welfare programs, into a new state agency. HB 1661 was sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle along with several others which are designed to reform foster care and child services.
WA: Judge’s Decisions Reveal Extent of Scandal at a Washington State CASA (Opinion)(Includes video)
Chronicle of Social Change – March 16, 2017
The most comprehensive study ever done of the program found that it does nothing to make children safer. The study also found that CASA prolongs foster care and reduces the chances children will be placed with relatives instead of strangers.
Guatemala: Death toll in Guatemala fire rises to 39 girls; key official ordered not to leave country (Includes video)
Associated Press – March 12, 2017
The president has blamed the government’s “rigid” and “insensitive” system for dealing with troubled youths and has promised to reform protective services for some 1,500 minors currently living in youth shelters around the country.
AL: Crackdown on pregnant marijuana users
Birmingham News – March 15, 2017
Although states across the country have relaxed penalties for marijuana use – new moms in Alabama still face harsh punishment for lighting up, which is often detected in hospital drug tests after birth and passed along to police. Dozens of women have been charged with felony chemical endangerment of a child since 2006 for using marijuana during pregnancy, according to a 2015 analysis of court data by Al.com and ProPublica.
CA: Molestation Settlement in Nearby Morgan Hill: Abuse Training At Schools Mandatory
Los Altos Patch – March 15, 2017
On March 15, attorneys for the Morgan Hill Unified School District and the families of three girls who were molested by a fifth-grade teacher between 2012 and 2014 finalized the non-monetary terms of a $8.25 million settlement. Along with paying each girl $2.75 million in a structured settlement, the school district will now be required to train its staff on how to identify possible predators and to teach students a sexual abuse prevention curriculum.
Also: Morgan Hill School District Finalizes Settlement Over Child Molestations: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/03/15/morgan-hill-school-district-finalizes-settlement-over-child-molestations/
CA: L.A.’s Plan to Tackle the 6-Million Hour Gorilla: Foster Care Visitations
Chronicle of Social Change – March 14, 2017
Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) issued a report last week estimating that the department spends two million staff hours facilitating another four million hours of “visitation” every year. When a child is removed from the custody of his or her parent due to abuse and neglect, a key part of the reunification process is ensuring that child can visit with his or her parent.
FL: Report: Delinquency down in Florida, despite a host of challenges
Clay Today – March 15, 2017
“Florida’s communities are seeing a more troubled child needing intensive services and multiple interventions, as well as ‘crossover youth,'” Craig-Myers told FloridaPolitics.com March 13, referring to minors who have had contact with both child welfare programs and the juvenile justice system. “Florida still leads the nation in prosecuting children charged with nonviolent offenses as adults.”
Information Gateway resource: Youth Involved With Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/youth/collaboration/dualsystem/
GA: Senate OKs $49 billion budget, cuing up House talks
Associated Press – March 15, 2017
Big-ticket items have been uncontroversial this year, including a 19 percent raise for state employees who oversee child welfare cases and the continuation of 20 percent raises for state law enforcement, including those with the Georgia State Patrol and Bureau of Investigation.
IA: Safe Families provides safe homes for kids in crisis situations (Includes video)
WQAD – March 15, 2017
On any given day 428,000 children are in foster care but one local organization is working to reduce that number for every at risk child in the Quad Cities. The organization helps families in crisis situations by placing children with a volunteer host family while the parent gets back on their feet.
ID: Two new faith-healing bills introduced; neither would lift exemption from criminal charges for parents
Spokesman-Review – March 15, 2017
The first one, from Dan Sevy, who’s a member of a faith-healing sect, would provide further consideration for faith-healing parents in Idaho, by directing courts, when they order emergency medical treatment for a child in cases of neglect, to consider other forms of treatment beyond medical care. The second one, from Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, would make a series of changes to Idaho’s faith healing exemption laws, but would leave in place the exemptions from criminal prosecution for parents whose children suffer serious injury or death, making changes only in civil provisions.
MA: Bills would protect Massachusetts medical marijuana patients from losing job over drug test
Mass Live – March 15, 2017
The bill would also protect medical marijuana patients from discrimination in education, housing and child welfare and custody cases.
MD: New Maryland technology designed to bring social safety net into the 21st Century
Smart Cities Council – March 14, 2017
It was after riots in Baltimore that Maryland’s administration became focused on the need for a statewide revamp of technology infrastructure to transform how it delivers human services. A release from Gov. Hogan’s office indicates that while the state had data showing areas of poverty, areas of high unemployment and areas with transportation challenges, that data wasn’t able to be used in a way that could help officials determine how to best direct resources.
ND: Social workers stand up for most vulnerable
Wahpetan Daily News – March 15, 2017
There is a group of people who do the hard and important work in a community, standing up for millions of people every day. They work with children, families and veterans. They with the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. They work with people battling chemical dependency, with mental health issues, with employment and education issues. They work with the people nobody wants to talk about. They are professional social workers and this month is designated as Social Work Month, a time to learn about the profession and celebrate the important work they do.
NE: Child welfare providers object to proposed Health and Human Services cuts
BH News Service – March 15, 2017
Pickel and others gathered Tuesday at the State Capitol to sound off about cuts to HHS proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts and supported by department officials. Tuesday was the second of two days of public hearings set aside on the budget for the state’s largest agency. Doug Weinberg, the director of children and family services for HHS, argued that the administration’s budget reflects the realities of the state’s current economic situation.
NJ: No child brides in N.J.: Senate approves ban on minors getting married
NJ.com – March 13, 2017
The Senate approved the legislation by a 26-to-5 vote, four months after the Assembly approved the bill. It now goes to Gov. Chris Christie who will decide whether to sign (A3091) into law. New Jersey would be the first state in the nation to remove all exceptions that require minors to wait until they are 18 years old to get married.
NM: State Moves to Support Students in Foster Care
National Center for Youth Law News – March 01, 2017
SB 213/HB 301 sponsored by Senator Gay Kernan and Representatives Gail Chasey and Doreen Gallegos, ensures that our most vulnerable students-including students in foster care, students involved in the juvenile justice system, and homeless students-have supports and opportunities to graduate. The bills passed their respective houses without opposition and have the support of the Children, Youth and Families Department, and the Public Education Department.
NY: Raise the Age NY Campaign Statement on One-House Budget Resolutions (Press release)
Public – March 15, 2017
In response to the New York State one-house budget resolutions released, the Raise the Age NY Campaign issued the following statement: ‘We thank the Assembly for their continued commitment to passing comprehensive raise the age legislation and for making it a priority in their one-house budget resolution. We are encouraged to see the Senate include raising the age of criminal responsibility, and hope the Senate makes the necessary changes in their final budget to reflect comprehensive reform,’ said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children; Naomi Post, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York and Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State.
Press release: Assembly Budget Includes Funding for Vital Human Services: http://publicnow.com/view/62C39762490CD2A0EE2FB57AE361B7A7ACD6BC33
NY: Homeless Teens Are 3 Times More Likely To Attempt Suicide, Be Hurt By Partners (Includes video)
Huffington Post – March 14, 2017
“The stark differences between homeless teens and their housed peers are cause for alarm,” researchers say.
OR: More foster homes needed in Jefferson County
Madras Pioneer – March 15, 2017
Many children are being sent out of the county due to lack of local foster homes. Jefferson County is in need of foster homes, and has had to place more than 30 children out of county due to lack of homes in this area. The number of Jefferson County foster children increased from 34 in 2014, to 84 in 2016.
OR: Workers union joins fray on child welfare
Statesman Journal – March 15, 2017
Calls to improve Oregon’s child welfare system grew louder Wednesday as one of the largest public employee unions released a report saying caseworkers are overburdened and the agency needs more staff.
PA: Mandated reporters critical to stopping child abuse, experts say
Centre Daily Times – March 15, 2017
Sandusky’s conviction and the five-year drama around the three administrators’ cases has brought attention on the role of the mandated reporter.
Also: Graham Spanier’s last stand may be Jerry Sandusky scandal’s final criminal trial (Opinion): http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/03/graham_spaniers_last_stand_may.html
SD: Gov. Dennis Daugaard Signs Religious Adoption Protections
Associated Press – March 13, 2017
South Dakota joined three other states Friday that have enacted laws giving broad legal protections to faith-based organizations that refuse based on their religious beliefs to place children in certain households.
TX: Child welfare workers fear legislative push to outsource their jobs
Texas Tribune – March 16, 2017
Former and current caseworkers say a plan to move case management services to nonprofits could be problematic and that no one in power is listening to their concerns.
TX: Backed by Rep. Wray and others, Texas House passes critical CPS reform legislation
Waxahachie Daily Light – March 15, 2017
An overwhelming approval of Texas House Bills 4 and 5 showed the commitment Texas House members, including Rep. John Wray, have made to correct issues with Child Protective Services. Both bills were passed Thursday.
TX: Illegal immigration dominates foster care debate in the House
Statesman – March 01, 2017
Illegal immigration took center stage in the Texas House Wednesday during consideration of a bill to boost pay for low-income foster parents caring for a foster child who is a relative.
WA: New children and families state agency bill passes House
Associated Press – March 15, 2017
A measure requested by Gov. Jay Inslee to establish a new state agency called the Department of Children, Youth and Families has passed the House. House Bill 1661 was voted out of the House Wednesday on a bi-partisan 77-19 vote, and now heads to the Senate. Inslee’s plan seeks to improve the delivery of services to children and families within juvenile justice programs, foster care services and other child-welfare programs.
US: Marchant Introduces Legislation Protecting Children from Identity Theft
Office of U.S. Congressman for Texas Kenny Marchant – March 15, 2017
Today, U.S. Congressmen Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) introduced the Social Security Child Protection Act (HR 1512). The legislation allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to issue a new Social Security Number (SSN) to children age 13 and under who have had their SSN stolen due to inadvertent disclosure.
US: Loebsack backs legislation to help homeless children
Ottumwa Courier – March 14, 2017
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) has teamed with an Ohio Republican to reintroduce legislation aimed at helping homeless minors. The Homeless Children and Youth Act is an attempt to establish a more accurate system for the federal government to measure the problem of youth homelessness. That, in turn, should lead to better means for helping those people.
Also: Bill aims to help homeless kids by cutting red tape: http://myfox28columbus.com/news/local/bill-aims-to-help-homeless-kids-by-cutting-red-tape
US: Finding Safe, Supportive Homes for Teens in Foster Care
National Center for Youth Law News – March 01, 2017
NCYL recently kicked off a 50-state study to identify state laws and regulations that either help or hinder placement of foster teens in safe, supportive homes before they age-out of the foster care system.
Australia: Foster care: Fewer Queensland children being placed with relatives
Courier Mail – March 15, 2017
Queensland foster parents are carrying the heaviest burden in the country, with many juggling two or more children in need of care. They are also stepping up to care for strangers as fewer Queensland children are placed with relatives. The revelation comes amid a foster carers recruitment drive and government promises to pay for foster children’s child care in a move designed to appease foster families.
Canada: Advocates concerned about unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Canada
Canadian Press – March 16, 2017
The mother – who Clarke wouldn’t identify to protect her from any possible reprisals back home – was denied entry under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which stipulates that an asylum seeker must make their claim in the first safe country in which they land. But her children were allowed into Canada under the care of their aunt, because of an exception that permits entry for those who have a blood-relative in the country.
Canada: Manitoba chiefs order child welfare agency board to suspend reformist director
APTN National News – March 16, 2017
Chiefs with a northern Manitoba tribal council have taken the extraordinary step of forcing the suspension of the official in charge of running a child welfare agency responsible for four northern First Nations. It remains unclear exactly why chiefs with the Island Lake Tribal Council moved to place the Island Lake First Nations Family Services executive director on administrative leave with pay while ordering a “full review on the administration practices and the delivery of services” of the organization.
Canada: Canada and First Nations Leadership Council continue discussions on advancing First Nation child and family services in British Columbia
Canada NewsWire – March 15, 2017
Today, as part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to rebuild nation-to-nation relationships, Minister Bennett met with the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) to discuss the work of improving First Nations Child and Family Services in British Columbia. Solutions brought forward by First Nations are instrumental in helping ensure that every child and family receives access to the care they need when they need it.
CA: Foster kids need face time with parents, but in LA County that’s not easy (Includes audio)
Southern California Public Radio – March 14, 2017
Los Angeles’ traffic issues, among other problems, are hampering one of the child welfare system’s basic functions: getting foster kids face time with their parents.
CA: Nonprofit Empowers the Lives of Former Foster Care Girls (Includes video)
NBC4 – March 13, 2017
Every year about 1,500 children age out of the Los Angeles County foster system. Within six months, half of them will be homeless. It’s an alarming statistic an LA nonprofit is working to change.
CA: Life on the Streets
Valdosta Daily News – March 12, 2017
When the Department of Housing and Urban Development counted all the country’s homeless on a single night in 2015, the number reached above half million. One in 10 were veterans. A quarter were children under the age of 18.
FL: State agency alleges mom watched, did nothing to stop daughter’s online suicide
CBS News – March 14, 2017
Now, the Department of Children and Families is alleging in a report that Caze watched the suicide and did nothing to stop it.
Also: Teen Who Killed Self on Facebook Live was Taunted by Mom: Report: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/teen-who-killed-self-facebook-live-was-taunted-mom-report-n733301
GA: Opinion: Student homelessness needs to be addressed
Sentinel – March 13, 2017
FASFA reports as many as 58,000 college students nationwide are afflicted by homelessness. This data is considered the most reliable, but it may not be the most accurate, since colleges are not technically required to document the number of homeless students enrolled at their institutions.
IA: Child Protection Center Opens in Mason City (Includes video)
KIMT – March 14, 2017
Nine counties now have a center looking to help those sexually abused.
IA: Lawmakers Question Whether Lack Of Social Workers Contributed To Teen’s Death
Iowa Public Radio – March 13, 2017
A group of mostly Democratic state lawmakers met with the head of Iowa’s Division of Adult, Child and Family Services Monday, and asked if a lack of social workers contributed to the starvation death of a West Des Moines teen in October.
Also: DHS administrator defends handling of child neglect allegations: http://www.radioiowa.com/2017/03/14/dhs-administrator-defends-handling-of-child-neglect-allegations/
MO: New child abuse prevention program for K-5 students underway
Columbia Missourian – March 14, 2017
A child abuse prevention program now taught in Columbia elementary schools has been updated with new materials including music, videos and take-home activities.
NC: State receives mixed grades on child welfare
WRAL – March 14, 2017
The report, issued each year by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the nonprofit NC Child, gave North Carolina an “A” for insurance coverage for insuring 96 percent of kids, which is a record high. But that state also received a failing grade for children’s economic security.
Full Report: http://tinyurl.com/h22e57x
NE: Appropriations Committee hears opposition to child welfare cuts
Lincoln Journal Star – March 14, 2017
The services are not federally mandated, the department has argued, and there are no federal matching funds. The savings to the state would be $2 million each year of the 2017-19 budget.
Also: Child welfare providers object to proposed Health and Human Services cuts: http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/child-welfare-providers-object-to-proposed-health-and-human-services/article_156840cc-dcd5-5e00-97b6-d0c2a0461dac.html
NM: House backs restrictions on solitary confinement
Albuquerque Journal – March 11, 2017
House Bill 175 would prohibit solitary confinement for inmates who are pregnant or under 18 years old.
PA: Adoption changes may cut time for biological parents to change minds
New Castle News – March 15, 2017
Under current law, biological parents have 30 days after revoking parental rights to change their minds. The new proposal would reduce that window to 14 days.
PA: Two plead guilty in Penn State Sandusky cover-up
Central News Network – March 14, 2017
One week before they were set to go to trial on three felony charges, former athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of children.
TN: State sues federal government over refugees (Includes video)
Tennessean – March 13, 2017
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of several state lawmakers Monday morning in the western district of Tennessee, alleges that the federal government has violated the 10th Amendment, which says the federal government possesses only the powers delegated to it by the U.S. Constitution and that all other powers are reserved for the states.
VA: Mom With Past Drug Record Challenges Lawmakers To Review Adoption Ban For Convicted Parents
Parent Herald – March 15, 2017
A mom from Virginia is hoping lawmakers will review a law banning convicted parents or adults from adopting or fostering children. Laura Tarantino wants to expand her family but because of her past drug record, she cannot adopt a child as the state ban remains enforced.
Also: State’s arbitrary barrier to adoption (Opinion: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/virginias-arbitrary-barrier-to-adoption/2017/03/14/dd4c6714-0837-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.60cdf9579d30
US: How unaccompanied youth become exploited workers in the US
Raw Story – March 14, 2017
Others who enter without detection and remain unaccompanied when they arrive in the U.S. are financially independent and may never gain access to formal resettlement services. Recent orders by the Trump administration that prioritize unaccompanied child migrants for deportation heighten the vulnerability of immigrant children in the U.S.
US: Federal education law adds critical supports for homeless students
Education Votes – March 13, 2017
Public schools have made progress in how they support students experiencing homelessness, since the McKinney-Vento Act was passed 30 years ago. Today, every school district has a homeless liaison to arrange academic supports for homeless students and assistance for their families-shelter, food, and transportation-meant to help keep their children in school.
Germany: Parents allowed to permit child restraints
Deutsche Welle – March 14, 2017
The German parliament has debated a new bill that allows parents to have their children restrained in hospital in certain cases. Child welfare activists say the new rules don’t go far enough and could be abused.
United Kingdom: Current Legal Issues in Migration: Unaccompanied Minors – What Have We Learned?
Border Criminologies – March 13, 2017
It is clear that legal challenges continue to lead to important (hard-fought) victories in individual cases. First instance decision making in the field of immigration and asylum is notoriously poor, such that legal action is often justified. Moreover, cases involving unaccompanied minors (particularly where they involve young children) may be met with sympathy in the courts.
AZ: How southeast Valley cities are trying to solve homelessness
Arizona Republic – March 13, 2017
In most cases, youth homelessness stems from domestic violence or an unstable home life, Secrest-Comer said. Approximately 39 percent of the youth and teenagers Tumbleweed helped had been in foster care, Secrest-Comer said.
CA: Dependency attorneys fear California budget woes will harm foster kids
Mercury News – March 13, 2017
Because of state funding issues, Waring and other attorneys at the East Bay Children’s Law Offices (EBCLO) are finding it increasingly difficult to continue representing some 2,000 Alameda County children each year who have been orphaned or removed from their parents or guardians because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
CA: When the pediatrician isn’t enough, a parent coach could help
UnDark.org – March 07, 2017
By augmenting the work of oversubscribed doctors, a trial program aims to improve children’s health care in the communities that need it most.
FL: Editorial: Another child’s death, another cry for help
Tampa Bay Times – March 13, 2017
A federal report released in January found the state is lagging in meeting the educational, physical and behavioral needs of children in the foster care system. In more than half of 80 cases reviewed, child welfare workers removed children from homes without providing appropriate services, failed to make concerted efforts to deliver care or did not monitor safety plans or engage families in safety services. It cited an array of systemic problems, such as gaps in services, long waiting lists and a failure to tailor aid to a culturally diverse population. Many of those problems were raised by the same federal agency eight years ago.
FL: DCF to judge: We didn’t lie; we made a mistake
Miami Herald – March 08, 2017
Lawyers for the state’s shaky child welfare agency assured a Miami judge Wednesday that it was a “simple mistake,” rather than a deliberate lie, when they gave her incorrect information about a girl who might have witnessed the suicide of a foster sibling.
IA: Iowa DHS officials: ‘Our system is functional’ (Includes video)
KCCI – March 13, 2017
Officials with the Iowa Department of Human Services spoke about training, caseloads and the hurdles that employees at the DHS faced while investigating Natalie Finn’s case. DHS Administrator Windy Rickman said there are three criteria to accept an abuse case: the alleged victim is a child, the suspect is a caretaker and the allegations have to fit at least one category of child abuse in Iowa.
Also: Have staff cuts hurt child safety in Iowa? Lawmaker says yes: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/readers-watchdog/2017/03/13/have-staff-cuts-hurt-child-safety-iowa-lawmaker-says-yes/99133528/
Also: More Hearings Held to Investigate DHS Following High-Profile Abuse Cases (Includes video): http://whotv.com/2017/03/13/more-hearings-held-to-investigate-dhs-following-high-profile-abuse-cases/
LA: Youth aging out of foster care struggle to survive in the ‘real world’
Shreveport Times – March 12, 2017
A young woman who had bounced between group and foster homes since she was 6 years old, Bullock said she found little help from the system that had sheltered her for more than 12 years. She also couldn’t turn to biological family for help. Her father had died when she was 14, and her mother was in prison.
MI: CMU works to improve foster care for parents and children (Press release)
Mount Pleasant Morning Sun – March 14, 2017
To help maximize the foster family experience, trainers and researchers from Central Michigan University’s Center for Children, Families and Communities are working with Chicago-based organization Safe Families for Children to evaluate and implement a program that will develop stronger relationships between foster children and foster parents.
MS: Understanding Trauma Key to Fixing State’s Foster Care System
Jackson Free Press – March 13, 2017
Like Michigan, Mississippi is also under a consent decree to fix its foster-care system-and the State must fulfill several promises by year’s end. Corrigan served as the chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court when the then-new Gov. Ricky Snyder appointed her to run the state’s foster-care system in 2011. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed former Justice David Chandler to head the state’s foster-care system in December 2015. During Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan’s four-year tenure at its helm, the child-welfare department in Michigan decreased the number of children in the state’s custody by 6,000 kids as well as delivered on 150 items in the ongoing consent decree. One of the reasons for Corrigan’s and the state’s success was understanding trauma.
NC: The Tragedy and the Turnaround
Pilot – March 11, 2017
There is no glamour or prestige in social work. And to work at a job that deals daily with child abuse, families in trauma, and people living in the uncertain grip of desperation? Words fail to describe the inner strength it must take to work in a department of social services. And yet these case managers and supervisors set out every day to provide whatever thin measures of protection and service they can for the neediest of the needy in our community.
NE: Budget squeeze puts post-adoption help at risk
Atchison Globe Now – March 14, 2017
Gov. Pete Ricketts has proposed cutting the $2 million annual contract for Right Turn services from the Department of Health and Human Services budget. The proposal was part of his plan for closing a nearly $900 million budget shortfall for the period ending June 30, 2019. In his budget recommendations, Ricketts said the services are not federally mandated and could be picked up by existing HHS staff.
NJ: Immigrant parents in N.J. fear separation from their kids
USA Today – March 11, 2017
Of the estimated 11.1 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, nearly 4 million have children in the United States. A study of child population from 2009-13 from the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, states that more than 168,000 children in New Jersey have parents who are unauthorized immigrants – 9% of the total child population in the state.
Also: N.J. undocumented parents prepare for possible separation from kids: http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/11/immigration-families-finding-guardians-preparations-for-children-in-new-jersey/98842356/
NM: The tiniest victims
Albuquerque Journal – March 14, 2017
Bundschuh has cared for four babies in opioid withdrawal since she and her husband became licensed foster parents in Missouri two years ago. The most recent arrival came in late January – a newborn preemie. The previous baby was agitated for six months, a fairly typical course for full withdrawal. “There would be two to three hours every night where he just screamed; he was very hard to calm,” she said.
NV: Carson City experiencing foster home shortage
Nevada Appeal – March 13, 2017
“Carson City is in a crisis for foster care homes,” said Lori Nichols, foster care recruitment, State of Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Nichols recruits foster care providers in the state’s 15 rural counties, including Carson City, which she says is the most populated and most difficult to find homes. “If three kids came in tonight we’d have to transport them to outlying areas,” she said. “We need the community to step up and be cognizant of the fact that we don’t have enough foster homes.”
NY: Proposed Regulations Issued for New York Paid Family Leave Law
JD Supra – March 13, 2017
Leave for purposes of birth, adoption, or foster care is also further explained in the proposed regulations. An employee may take family leave for the purposes of arranging placement for adoption or foster care, including counseling sessions, court appearances, meetings with a birth parent’s attorney or doctor, or travel to another country to complete an adoption, if absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed.
NY: For New York families in custody fights, a “black hole” of oversight
Salon – March 11, 2017
Critics say a state office’s professed inability to review the work of mental health experts leave children at risk.
OH: State Tackles Opioid Epidemic
Community Common – March 11, 2017
Ohio is tackling the problem in a variety of ways that include tracking prescription pill purchases through a statewide database, advising doctors on proper dosage limits, initiating a youth drug prevention program, providing access to medication-assisted treatment and behavioral health treatment to participants in drug courts and other specialized dockets, and seeking solutions on a regional level.
OR: Bill requires mandatory reporting outside of working hours (Press release)
Oregon State Legislature – March 13, 2017
Senate passed a bill today that requires mandatory reporters who observe suspected abuse to notify the appropriate authorities, regardless of whether those individuals are on the job.
RI: DYCF introduces new ‘Safe and Secure Baby Court’
WPRI – March 13, 2017
The goal of the court is reunifying parents with their baby as fast as safely possible, provide enhanced services for babies that remain at home, and offer a smooth exit from the child welfare system.
TX: Lawmakers Hope to Reform CPS
Texomas Homepage – March 13, 2017
Going into the 85th Legislative Session, one of the main focuses was child protective services, which has been beset with problems and criticism. So far two bills have passed, that were co-authored by Wichita Falls State Representative James Frank. House Bill 4 focuses on expanding the eligibility of financial assistance to certain kinship caregivers within the child protective services system. House Bill 5 would turn the department of family and protective services, which runs CPS, into a stand- alone agency.
Also: Local Representative Co-Authors Bills Strengthening Child Protective Services (Includes video): http://www.texomashomepage.com/news/local-news/local-representative-co-authors-bills-strengthening-child-protective-services/671288211
US: Fearing Deportation, Families Plan For The Worst
National Public Radio – March 13, 2017
In the wake of the Trump administration’s plans to crack down on illegal immigration, fear is sweeping through immigrant communities. Parents are being advised to put a plan in place for their children in case they find themselves detained or deported.
Also: Separating Children from their Parents to Deter Other Asylum Seekers is Unlawful and Cruel (Opinion): http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/separating-children-their-parents-deter-other-asylum-seekers-unlawful-and-cruel
US: Hispanic Girls Facing Higher Suicide Rate
La Prensa San Diego – March 13, 2017
Hispanic teenage girls have the highest rate of suicide attempts among all adolescent groups in the U.S., according to a survey of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Information Gateway resource: Crisis Intervention in Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/crisis.pdf
Canada: Iranian immigrants divided by adoption regulations
CTV News – March 13, 2017
Azam Jabbari, her husband and daughter have all been granted residency status to live in Canada. But her adopted ten-year-old son, Paiman, has been denied. Quebec will only recognize an international adoption if the family of origin gives up its legal rights. MNA Amir Khadir said many countries approve adoptions without that restriction.
Canada: The Lost Children: Change on horizon for First Nations child welfare
CBC News – March 13, 2017
Child welfare agencies on First Nations reserves in New Brunswick are on the cusp of a major overhaul, nearly a decade after the suicide of a teenage girl who was sexually abused in a foster home.
Guatemala: As fire’s death toll rises, so does desire for orphan care reform in Guatemala
Mission News Network – March 13, 2017
The death toll continues to rise in the wake of a tragic fire at a government orphanage near Guatemala City. As of Sunday, 40 girls have perished – and more children remain in critical condition in local hospitals. Accusations continue to mount as a country mourns and families plead for answers. Orphan Outreach’s Mike Douris says, in moments like this, it’s essential to look at the true issues so wisdom may be used in bringing about lasting change in care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Also: Child Welfare Officials Arrested In Guatemala Shelter Fire That Killed 40 Girls: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosebuchanan/guatemalans-weep-after-fire-kills-at-least-21-teenage-orphan?utm_term=.xoe6rEBr#.wv3z2aK2
Mexico: Growing Number Of Migrants Seeking Refuge In Mexico
Opposing Views – March 13, 2017
As the Trump administration moves forward on stricter border enforcement and deportation laws, greater numbers of Central American immigrants fleeing from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are abandoning hopes of entering the U.S. either illegally or by asylum and instead attempting to simply remain in Mexico.
Yemen: Children suffer untold psychological damage
Abu Dhabi National – March 11, 2017
The war in Yemen has taken a heavy toll on children, with nearly 1,400 killed and more than 2,000 injured since March 2015, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Nearly 10 million Yemeni children face fear, pain and deprivation brought on by the war, Unicef said in a report last year, and the recruitment of child soldiers has also increased exponentially, particularly by the Iran-backed rebels.
CA: Nonprofit Empowers the Lives of Former Foster Care Girls (Includes video)
NBC Los Angeles – March 13, 2017
“We have these children that are becoming adults that don’t have anywhere to go in LA that are winding up on skid row, that are winding up in rehab, that are winding up in jail.”
CA: Child Welfare Involvement Linked to Increased Severity of Punishment for Youth, Study Finds
Chronicle of Social Change – March 12, 2017
Among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, researchers determined that those who were also involved with the child welfare system were as much as 11 times more likely to be placed in a group home over those with no child welfare involvement.
CA: Bill Proposes State-Mandated Sex Education for Foster Youth
Chronicle of Social Change – March 10, 2017
Last month, California State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) introduced a bill aimed at decreasing the rate of unintended pregnancies for the state’s foster youth.
FL: After Two Suicides In 60 Days, Lawyer Says Florida’s Privatization Of Foster Care Is A Failure
WLNR – March 10, 2017
A preliminary hearing was held Thursday in the case of Naika Venant, the 14-year-old girl who broadcast her suicide on Facebook Live from her Miami Gardens foster home earlier this year. It was the second suicide of a teenager in foster care overseen by the agency Our Kids in less than 60 days. In December, 16-year-old Lauryn Martin hanged herself with a scarf in her room at the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter on Plantation Key. Howard Talenfeld, a lawyer representing Naika Venant’s biological family, says it’s just the latest evidence that the state’s move to privatize foster care isn’t working.
IA: Real action is needed to curb abuse in foster care (Opinion)
Gazette – March 10, 2017
Imagine for a moment how Iowa officials would respond had two horrifying child abuse cases come to light over just a few months, both involving children harmed by their parents, even after repeated warnings to authorities. There would be a rush to scapegoat any and all efforts to keep families together. Politicians would race to outdo each other in demanding that the Department of Human Services take more children from their homes.
ID: Foster care system to see a boost in funding (Includes video)
Idaho Statesman – March 12, 2017
Idaho’s child welfare system, the subject of a legislative performance review released in February, is getting some of the additional resources that state evaluators said were needed to address staff burnout, under-served foster families and other issues.
ID: ‘Every phone call is a trauma.’ Idaho’s foster care system to see a boost in support (Includes video)
Idaho Statesman – March 10, 2017
Idaho’s child welfare system, the subject of a legislative performance review released in February, is getting some of the additional resources that state evaluators said were needed to address staff burnout, underserved foster families and other issues.
KY: Governor Engages Nonprofits, Faith-Based Community to Help Find Forever Homes for Kids in Welfare System
Webster County Journal Enterprise – March 12, 2017
Governor Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin launched the “Open Hearts/Open Homes” initiative today at the “Summit to Save Our Children” event they hosted in Frankfort. The initiative is part of the Governor’s pledge to improve the state’s adoption and foster care system by mobilizing a network of nonprofits, faith-based organizations and loving families.
KY: Bevin to hire ‘czar’ to address problems in foster care, adoptions (Includes video)
Lexington Herald-Leader – March 10, 2017
Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that he’ll hire a “czar” sometime next week to work in his administration and specifically address problems in Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system.
Also: Gov. Bevin pushes for changes to foster care system: http://www.whas11.com/news/local/gov-bevin-pushes-for-changes-to-foster-care-system/421551109
Also: Bevin on foster care: ‘We’ve got to rethink the entire process’: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/ky-governor/2017/03/10/bevin-foster-care-weve-got-rethink-entire-process/98966712/
MA: Task force: opioid crisis increases need for foster families
Wareham Village Soup – March 10, 2017
Two foster care recruiters from the Department of Children and Families, Kathryn Wegner and Kara Hemingway, attended a recent Opioid Task Force meeting to explain the effects of the crisis. The pair clarified that Wareham itself has only six “unrestricted” foster families. The term “unrestricted” indicates a permanent foster home which is not related to the foster child in question; Wegner stressed that they always try and place a child with family first, but that it wasn’t always doable.
MD: State’s $200M MD THINK Program To Bring Data Analytics To Social Services
Technically – March 10, 2017
The state of Maryland is going to build a new platform to improve its use of data when providing social services. Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that more than $200 million is being invested into MD THINK, or Maryland’s Total Human-services Information Network (hey, acronyms gotta acronym). It’s a cloud-based data repository that will make it easier to share information across departments.
ME: Forum to feature Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Sun Journal – March 13, 2017
REACH – Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing – began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that major inequities existed in the way that the state dealt with family issues within Maine’s Native-American communities. Through their advocacy, they were able to establish the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013.
NH: Senate to vote on preserving child protection records
Associated Press – March 12, 2017
The state’s child protection agency could be required to keep records on file for longer periods of time under a bill proposed by the Senate.
NJ: Rutgers Opens First-Ever Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic for Young Adults
Patch – March 10, 2017
The outpatient clinic is located in the Edison Metroplex and is for 15-to-35-year-old residents of Middlesex, Monmouth and Mercer counties.
NV: Children on the cusp: The transition from foster care to adulthood is leaving some behind
Las Vegas Sun – March 13, 2017
In Clark County, the child welfare system has long grappled with deficiencies in funding and resources. The community’s transient nature leaves many displaced kids without the typical support of extended family, and it limits the pool of foster parents.
NY: Stop the Silence: Commercial exploitation of children is happening – in Tompkins County
Tompkins Weekly – March 13, 2017
Over the past several months, billboards have been displaying an important message throughout Tompkins County – it features a simple graphic of a child and a blunt statement: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children is Happening in Tompkins County. Posters have also been placed throughout the county with the same message, asking people to “Listen to the Silence.”
NY: City Looks To Teens In Effort To Prevent Domestic Violence
Huffington Post – March 07, 2017
Prevention efforts must include educating young people about healthy relationships, said Bea Hanson, who ran the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women before being brought on as executive director of the task force. She said there is currently no standardized curriculum on teen dating abuse for students in New York City.
OH: Baby Boxes, Meant to Reduce Infant Mortality, Spread to Ohio
Columbus Dispatch – March 09, 2017
A Los Angeles company is working with hospitals and health departments in Ohio to give away cardboard box beds for every newborn in the state this year in an effort to reduce the high infant-mortality rate.
OK: Partnership between OK Fosters Initiative, DHS, and the OK Alliance of YMCAs to Benefit Foster Families
KSWO – March 10, 2017
The Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and Governor Fallin’s Oklahoma Fosters initiative to launch the “YMCA Benefit Program” for Oklahoma foster families. This new program will provide discounted services to foster parents at YMCAs across the state.
OR: New bill would let foster children change case workers (Includes video)
KTVL – March 09, 2017
Senate Bill 749 gives foster children who are 12 or older the opportunity to work with the Department of Human Services in changing their assigned case workers. Those in the foster system worry this would create a burden on DHS employees are already overworked.
SD: Skirting the Indian Child Welfare Act Is a Lucrative Business
Indian Country Today Media Network – March 10, 2017
Removal of Indian children from their homes appears to be a lucrative business in South Dakota, to the tune of “almost a hundred million dollars a year,” according to a 2011 NPR investigation. That’s not including the “adoption incentive bonus” paid to the state when “they move kids to foster care and into adoption – about $4,000 a child.”
TN: Memphis services for homeless need drastic change (Opinion)
Commercial Appeal – March 12, 2017
Homeless services within Memphis are desperately strained and in need of change if the city is to address the housing and stability needs of every citizen experiencing homelessness.
TX: Bell County homeless count rises slightly
FME News Service – March 11, 2017
On any given day, there are more than 23,000 people experiencing homelessness in Texas. More than 2,200 are families with 4,400 children under the age of 18 and an average age of 7, according to the Texas Homeless Network.
TX: Spriggs: At-risk kids can’t wait for overhaul of child-welfare system (Opinion)
Houston Chronicle – March 08, 2017
Nearly 49,000 Texas children find themselves in the child welfare system each year after having experienced abuse and/or neglect from family members. Imagine being an 8-year-old and you’re suddenly removed from your home, sent to a different city, and separated from family, friends, classmates and teachers. Where would you find your support system? And who would protect you if you ended up in a home where you endured even worse abuse and neglect?
Also: While Texas lawmakers talk big fixes to CPS, foster care, they’re not yet adding big money: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/child-protective-services/2017/03/10/texas-lawmakers-talk-big-fixes-cps-foster-care-yet-adding-big-money
VA: Because of a criminal record, a Va. woman can’t adopt now. She’s fighting the state’s 10-year ban (Includes video)
Washington Post – March 12, 2017
Tarantino, who said she has written hundreds of letters to lawmakers in Richmond, hopes to persuade legislators to shorten the time period or begin case-by-case considerations, as already happens in nearby Delaware.
WV: Gazette editorial: Send foster kids to college, but not at the same place (Includes video)
Charleston Post and Courier – March 12, 2017
As important as it is to find a new productive use for the Montgomery campus West Virginia University plans to vacate, a private “college” for former foster kids is not a good idea because it is not the best option for those students.
US: Break up the family? White House weighs new border deterrent
Christian Science Monitor – March 11, 2017
When Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed this week that the Trump administration was considering separating immigrant mothers from their children at the border – a calculated way to deter other families from making the journey to seek refuge in the United States – Lisa Koop immediately thought of the fears and hardships many of her clients faced.
US: Bad for Undocumented Immigrants, a Gift to Domestic Abusers (Opinion)
Slate – March 08, 2017
Last week, Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson revealed one of the effects of this crackdown. Bronson said in an interview with Colorado’s KUSA TV, four undocumented domestic violence victims have decided not to pursue claims against their abusers, forcing her office to drop the cases.
US: Increasing minimum wage would reduce teen pregnancies
Science Daily – March 08, 2017
A $1 increase in the minimum wage would likely reduce the U.S. adolescent birth rate by about 2 percent, according to new Indiana University research.
US: Flourishing From the Start: What Is It and How Can It Be Measured?
Child Trends – March 07, 2017
Substantial evidence indicates that early investments to foster positive child development can reap large and lasting gains. But in order to implement and sustain policies and programs that help children flourish, we need to accurately define, measure, and then monitor, “flourishing.”
Canada: CBC Investigates: ‘It’s really a scandal’: Reasons for 53 deaths of at-risk children hidden by secret committee
CBC News – March 13, 2017
At least 53 children known to child protection services in New Brunswick have died from unnatural causes over the past two decades. How they died and whether any could have been saved is not for the public to know, according to the provincial government.
Canada: Country to join hands fighting child marriage (Includes video)
Star Online – March 13, 2017
The Canadian government has welcomed collaboration with local civil societies to raise awareness against child, early and forced marriages that is widespread across the globe.
International: UN agency spotlights role of Governments in preventing child exploitation in tourism
Boston News Net – March 11, 2017
The United Nations-backed meeting on tourism has spotlighted the leading role of Governments in preventing all forms of child exploitation in the leisure travel industry. “There is a bright and black side to tourism [“] We cannot allow the tourism infrastructure to be used for this and shouldn”t have any issues in exposing such situations,” said UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in a press release.
United Kingdom: Outrage in Britain as unaccompanied migrant children are abandoned
America, the Jesuit Review – March 10, 2017
Fury was the response among many when the government chose to renege on its commitment to bring in 3,000 refugee children. Parliament had added the so-called Dubs Amendment to its contentious Immigration Act, a sop for humanitarians on a measure that overall sought to toughen sanctions against illegal immigration. The Act was viewed as an excessively harsh crackdown-although there was no shortage of voices roaring for further clampdowns.
United Kingdom: A very British tug of war over Europe’s child refugees
openDemocracy – March 09, 2017
Parliament has voted to silence the voices of local communities. Their message of European solidarity and warm welcome for refugees is an anathema to the politics of Brexit Britain.
AR: Bill to permit legislative review of closed child maltreatment cases advances
Arkansas Times – March 09, 2017
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary committee approved a bill by Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) that would allow a limited number of Arkansas legislators to jointly review closed child maltreatment investigations as part of a new oversight body that would also include various stakeholders in the child welfare system.
AR: Three grandparents’ rights bills pass Arkansas House committee
Talk Business & Politics – March 09, 2017
House Bills 1568, 1654 and 1773 by Rep. Laurie Rushing, R-Hot Springs, would provide grandparents and great-grandparents additional legal redress when denied access to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren by the parents. The bills were passed by the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs.
CA: State gets high grade for medical marijuana access, report says
Orange County Register – March 10, 2017
Though the state didn’t pass any new medical marijuana legislation in 2016, Americans for Safe Access and others lobbied to get new protections for patients included in Proposition 64, the recreational marijuana measure approved by voters in November. That included a stipulation that Child Protective Services can no longer restrict parental rights based solely on the fact that someone is a medical marijuana patient.
CA: State Time Limits 30-Day Shelters for Foster Youth in Midst of ‘Epic Crisis’ in Foster Parent Recruitment
Chronicle of Social Change – March 09, 2017
As California shifts away from its reliance on group homes for children and youth in foster care, the first domino to drop is the elimination of 30-day emergency shelter facilities. As California rolls out the ambitious overhaul of its foster care system, advocates who pushed for the reform are hopeful that shortening timelines for placement, and other imminent changes, will disrupt the system and transform it into one that better serves children.
CO: Coloradoan launches child welfare project (Video)
Coloradoan – March 09, 2017
The Coloradoan investigates child abuse and child welfare in Larimer County.
FL: Child welfare lawyers to judge: We made a ‘simple mistake’
Associated Press – March 09, 2017
Florida Department of Children & Families lawyers told a judge they made a “simple mistake” when they gave her incorrect information about the welfare of foster children who may have witnessed a teen hang herself on Facebook live. Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia had ordered the agency to explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court over a mix-up in identifying a girl who was in the home Jan. 22 when 14-year-old Naika Venant died.
IN: Editorial: Sells case a stark reminder that children are suffering
Herald Bulletin – March 09, 2017
Nearly 700,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect in the United States each year, according to the National Children’s Alliance. About 3.4 million children are the subject of investigations by child protective services agencies. Children in the first year of their lives are the most frequent victims, with 24.2 per 1,000 children suffering maltreatment.
MD: Mandatory reporters: Md. bill would require reporting threats to kids
WTOP – March 10, 2017
A proposed bill in Maryland would make reporting not just abuse, but threats of abuse, mandatory for those duty-bound to do so.
MD: Hogan announces upgrade to Maryland’s computer systems
Washington Post – March 09, 2017
A major upgrade to computer systems at Maryland agencies will help deliver government services to people more efficiently, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday. The first phase will improve collaboration between the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the state health department. It will focus on better delivery of services to children in foster care and families in need. Other departments will be added in future phases.
MS: Youth Court requires time, money
Stone County Enterprise – March 09, 2017
Representatives of the Stone County Youth Court came before the Board of Supervisors Monday. Judge Rebecca Taylor brought guardians ad litem Sean Courtney and Pam Nelson to discuss and elaborate on the requirements the court must meet in order to serve the youth who come before it. Taylor said her desire was to educate the board and, in some small way, help the board members understand the challenges her court faces, both fiscally and morally.
NM: NMSU School of Social Work welcomes national immigrant child welfare organization (Press release)
Public – March 09, 2017
A national organization that promotes the welfare of children of immigrants and their families has relocated to New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services School of Social Work.
NY: City Views: The Clock is Ticking to Revamp New York’s Child Protective System (Opinion)
City Limits – March 10, 2017
Children are dying in record numbers from child abuse; a federal report shows that the rates are climbing. In 2015, the number of estimated child abuse fatalities nationwide-1,670-was the highest in five years. Put another way, every five and a half hours, an infant or toddler dies from child abuse at the hands of their parent or caretaker.
NY: In New York, Children as Young as 14 Can Marry
Human Rights Watch – February 14, 2017
Child marriage is any marriage of a person under the age of 18. Under current law, the minimum age of marriage in New York is 18, but the law permits exceptions to that minimum age, allowing children age 16 and 17 to marry with parental approval, and 14- and 15-year-olds to marry if they have permission from a judge in addition to their parents. The vast majority of US states permit marriage before the age of 18 under some circumstances.
OK: Gov. Mary Fallin says number of children in state custody declining
Lake Expo – March 10, 2017
“At one point a couple of years ago, we had more than 11,000 children in state custody. Now we’re down to 9,400. That’s a remarkable drop,” Fallin said following an appearance at the Tandy Family YMCA in Tulsa.
OK: Gov. Fallin Announces Partnership between Oklahoma Fosters and DHS and Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs (Press release)
Public – March 09, 2017
Governor Mary Fallin today announced a new public-private partnership to benefit all Oklahoma foster families. Beginning today, the Oklahoma Alliance of YMCAs is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) and the governor’s Oklahoma Fosters initiative to launch the ‘YMCA Benefit Program’ for Oklahoma foster families. This new program will provide discounted services at YMCAs across the state to all foster parents providing care to children in state custody.
OR: Foster Youth Sibling Bill of Rights Passes Out of Committee (Press release)
Oregon State Legislature – March 09, 2017
This bill defines rights for foster siblings, including the right of foster youth to live in homes where foster parents have been trained on the importance of sibling relationships, require more privacy for sibling communication, be notified in a timely manner if a sibling experiences a catastrophic event, and develop a contact plan if siblings are not placed in foster care together.
TX: Will CPS overhaul work? (Includes video)
Click 2 Houston – March 09, 2017
As lawmakers move forward with plans to overhaul Child Protective Services, child advocates question whether measures go far enough to truly right an embattled system. Legislators’ pledge to fix our state’s child welfare system includes an infusion of cash and a list of proposed laws.
US: Attorney ‘demands’ U.S. Olympic Committee de-certify USA Gymnastics (Includes video)
Delaware Online – March 09, 2017
Amid reports that board members of the United States Olympic Committee want USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny to resign, a lawyer representing more than 70 alleged sexual abuse victims is urging further action.
US: Rep. Bass Leads House Democrats on Letter Opposing Trump Administration Plan to Use Foster Care as Immigration Deterrent (Press release)
Public – March 09, 2017
‘Our child welfare system is designed to protect children from abusive and neglectful parents. The system should never be used as a deterrent or a punishment for anyone, whether they are Americans or not,’ said Rep. Bass. ‘To consider using the threat of detainment of a child as a deterrent to parents outside of our borders is not only irresponsible and inadequate but immoral and inhumane.
Also: Commentary: Fix immigration, but don’t hurt kids: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-fix-immigration-but-don-t-hurt-kids/article_5f54e4cc-c40b-508a-a961-f9360ff0f2bb.html
Also: Mexico’s foreign minister objects to U.S. proposal to split parents from children: http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article137580633.html
US: Social Workers ‘Stand Up’ For All
DC Military – March 09, 2017
Social workers from throughout the Walter Reed Bethesda community began their month-long observance of National Professional Social Work Month with a day-long forum on March 2 at the medical center. Topics discussed during the forum touched on a number of issues social workers tackle to help people meet their challenges and build stronger communities. These include individuals who may be experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, veterans, children, families and communities. This is how “Social Workers Stand Up” for those in need, which is also the theme for this year’s observance.
Fiji: 1077 cases of child abuse in 2016
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation – March 10, 2017
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa says these figures cannot be taken lightly and they will strengthen child protection initiatives.
Ireland: Relatives seek truth about Irish babies ‘discarded like litter’ (Includes video)
Reuters – March 09, 2017
Peter Mulryan’s little sister may lie buried among the bones of babies and toddlers found in the sewers of what was once a home for unmarried mothers in the Irish town of Tuam, but he wants to know for sure. The announcement last week by an official inquiry that it had found “significant quantities” of remains at the site has horrified Ireland, reviving anguish over how women and children were once treated at state-backed Catholic institutions.
Syria: Syrian children face growing mental health crisis, new report reveals
Relief Web – March 06, 2017
Major research project by Save the Children finds widespread evidence of ‘toxic stress’ and mental health issues among children inside Syria, as experts warn the psychological damage could be irreversible
Report: Invisible Wounds: The impact of six years of war on the mental health of Syria’s children: http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/invisible-wounds-impact-six-years-war-mental-health-syria-s-children
United Kingdom: Scotland to reconsider contentious child welfare plan
World – March 09, 2017
Scottish officials this week announced they are reintroducing a controversial law that would assign a state guardian to every child in the country.
AL: Finding roots: Nonprofit reunifies Native American families
Auburn Journal – March 08, 2017
One of the alliance’s main goals, though, is keeping Native families together not related to the United Auburn Indian Community tribe. As of 2010, Placer County had 3,011 Native residents, or .9 percent. Currently though, 14 percent of children in open welfare cases are Native.
CO: Caseworker crisis slows child welfare work (Includes video)
Coloradoan – March 08, 2017
Angela Keeley has been a child welfare caseworker with Larimer County for more than a year, but she still has a hard time remembering all her co-workers’ names. That’s because nearly half of the county’s 90-some child welfare caseworkers quit in 2016, a turnover rate on par with the national average but nearly four times that of Weld County caseworkers and three times the turnover rate of Boulder County caseworkers.
FL: Foster mom charged in toddler’s death was meant to be his lifeline
Tampa Bay Times – March 09, 2017
The repeated trips to the hospital should have meant the boy was considered for placement with medically trained foster parents, a Florida Department of Children and Families investigation into his death found. Each medical emergency was recorded in an incident log but no one at Eckerd Kids, the agency that runs Hillsborough’s child welfare system, was checking for multiple reports on the same child, the DCF investigation concluded. Eckerd officials said they now have a system that will flag repeated medical incidents, and they plan to hire an employee to take on that responsibility.
FL: DCF to judge: We didn’t lie; we made a mistake (Includes video)
Miami Herald – March 08, 2017
Lawyers for the state’s shaky child welfare agency assured a Miami judge Wednesday that it was a “simple mistake,” rather than a deliberate lie, when they gave her incorrect information about a girl who might have witnessed the suicide of a foster sibling. The mistake was important, Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia said because it might have hindered the state’s ability to provide counseling to the girl, who was in the same foster home as Naika Venant, a troubled 14-year-old who hanged herself with a scarf from a shower rod – while livestreaming on Facebook.
FL: Foster parents charged
Times Daily – March 08, 2017
A Florida couple who were foster parents in Florence for seven years have been charged with hundreds of counts of child abuse, sexual abuse and other charges involving children they had adopted or were fostering.
IN: Drug epidemic leads to need for more foster parents in Indiana (Includes video)
WRTV – March 08, 2017
The drug epidemic in Indiana has caused a dramatic increase in the number of children in foster care over the last couple of years and agencies across the state are now scrambling to find more foster parents.
IN: Following neglect cases, local organization for disabled children speaks on importance of reaching out for help (Includes video)
WTHI – March 08, 2017
Reach Services of Terre Haute offers a lifeline to those families facing a wide spectrum of challenges. Services include, housing, case management and financial assistance. A new study suggests children with disabilities are, in fact, at a higher risk of abuse.
KY: A foster parent’s ideas for helping Kentucky’s children (Opinion)
Lexington Herald-Leader – March 08, 2017
The Herald-Leader also reported an increase in the number of abuse cases, many of which also concerned cases in which reports had been made to child protective services. These cases are heartbreaking and, to the extent they are preventable, should be a source of shame to Kentuckians. John Spires So I am cautiously optimistic following Gov. Matt Bevin’s remarks in his state of the commonwealth address regarding improvements to Kentucky’s foster care programs and adoption programs.
NV: Proposed law would allow for victims to track status of rape kit testing
Las Vegas Review-Journal – March 08, 2017
Nevada may start a statewide program that tracks rape kits while keeping victims updated on the kits’ progression through the system. The Legislature increased the statute of limitations from four years to 20 years in 2015. A separate bill is pending that increases to 20 years the statute of limitations for a victim of child sexual abuse to sue a perpetrator.
NY: Emotions Run the Gamut as NYC Students Receive High School Matches
WNYC – March 09, 2017
In a statement, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña highlighted some trends she considered promising, including more support for students living in homeless shelters to engage in the application process, for both kindergarten and high school while she recognized the day as a pivotal one in the lives of many New York City children.
NY: Child Abuse Increase Seen In Oswego County
Oswego County Today – March 08, 2017
“I think there’s a really big correlation between poverty and child abuse,” Christine Patrick, the director of services at the DSS, said. “People have a hard time meeting their own needs and subsequently have a hard time meeting their children’s needs. They turn to other things, such as self-medicating, which in turn leads to drug use.”
NY: For Families in Custody Fights, a ‘Black Hole’ of Oversight
Propublica – March 07, 2017
Though psychologists who appear in New York’s Family and Matrimonial Courts help shape decisions of grave consequence – from custody to child protection to juvenile delinquency – their work is subject to little or no professional oversight, purportedly because the confidentiality of such proceedings makes them hard to penetrate even for regulators.
SD: Governor mum on religious adoption protections
Associated Press – March 08, 2017
South Dakota’s Republican governor isn’t saying whether he’ll sign a measure aimed at protecting faith-based organizations that refuse to place children with gay couples or other arrangements contrary to their religious beliefs.
TX: Reforming the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (Opinion)
Nueces County Record Star – March 08, 2017
Last week, the Texas Legislature took steps towards fixing long-running problems in the state’s child welfare system. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recognized changes to Child Protective Services as an emergency item for the Legislature. He announced it would be the top priority during his State of the State address.
Also: Abilene non-profit weighs in on House bill to assist CPS (Includes video): http://www.ktxs.com/news/abilene-non-profit-weighs-in-on-house-bill-6/384756032
Also: TX: House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system: http://www.wcmessenger.com/2017/opinion/columns/house-senate-approve-bills-to-protect-children-in-foster-system/
WA: Nordstrom expands parental leave benefits:
Seattle Times – March 08, 2017
Nordstrom has joined the list of companies expanding their parental leave benefits. As of May 1, the Seattle-based retailer will offer up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave to birth mothers, and up to six weeks of fully paid leave to other new parents.
Also: Attain Announces Paid Parental Leave: http://business.dailytimesleader.com/dailytimesleader/news/read?GUID=33868427
WI: Heroin in rural communities
Milton Courier – March 08, 2017
The Wisconsin Department of Justice website (www.doj.state.wi.us/dci/heroin-awareness/cases-county) lists heroin cases by county. Looking at data collected in 2015 and years prior, the number of heroin cases processed by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab has steadily increased in almost every Wisconsin county.
WI: Investigators wrongly said teen prison probe ended (Includes video)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – March 08, 2017
Criminal investigators told the Department of Corrections they had completed a probe of Wisconsin’s troubled juvenile prison in the summer of 2015, even though it was far from over, state records show. A year and a half later, the investigation continues into prisoner abuse and child neglect at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.
US: Baylor Professor’s Research Sparks Calls for Change in Adoption, Options Counseling Process
Baylor Media Communications – March 08, 2017
Qualitative study includes interviews of birth mothers discussing pros and cons of adoption process.
Report: Understanding Options Counseling Experiences in Adoption: A Qualitative Analysis of First/Birth Parents and Professionals: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Understanding-Options-Counseling-Experiences-in-Adoption-Qualitative-Study.pdf
Information Gateway resource: Options Counseling for Expectant Parents: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/preplacement/working-parents-families/options-counseling/
US: Can You Sue Child Protective Services for Emotional Distress?
FindLaw – March 08, 2017
Unfortunately, unless your civil rights are violated, you likely won’t have any legal claim against Child Protective Services stemming from the agency’s, or its representatives’, routine actions. So, you likely won’t be able to sue for emotional distress. However, when civil rights are violated, individuals can sue CPS, and these claims can be costly for cities.
CA: Report: Healthy Babies, Toddlers Must be Higher Calif. Priority (Includes audio)
Public News Service – March 08, 2017
A new report from the nonprofit group Children Now says California must do a better job tending to the needs of families with infants and toddlers, and lays out some policy prescriptions to achieve that goal.
CO: Proposed program would teach stylists how to deal with secrets spilled in the salon
Colorado Springs Independent – March 08, 2017
Colorado wouldn’t be the first to bring awareness into the salon. The Professional Beauty Association, a trade group, already runs a training program called CUT IT OUT in which educators visit schools, salons and events to conduct seminars. New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services has been operating a similar initiative since 2007. Last year, the State of Illinois became the first to mandate that licensed beauty professionals undergo such training. There’s not enough data to demonstrate the law’s effect yet, but Colorado is joined by Hawaii and California in attempting legislative copycats.
CT: DCF: 22,000 citizen-children of undocumented parents in CT
Connecticut Mirror – March 07, 2017
On Monday the Department of Children and Families reported to the Appropriations Committee that there are 22,000 children of undocumented immigrants who are under 18, U.S. citizens and living in Connecticut.
ID: JFAC votes for child welfare boost, 20% hike in foster parent stipends
Spokesman-Review – March 07, 2017
Responding to concerns raised by a legislative interim committee and a recent Office of Performance Evaluations report that found that Idaho’s child welfare system is overwhelmed, with too few foster parents, too heavy caseloads for social workers and not enough infrastructure to hold it all together, JFAC this morning set a budget for the Child Welfare Division of the state Department of Health & Welfare for next year that adds eight new positions and reflects a 12.3 percent increase in state general funds, 5.8 percent in total funds
KY: EDITORIAL: General Assembly applauded for efforts to improve foster care
Kentucky Standard – March 04, 2017
The Kentucky legislature thinks we, as a state, can do foster care better, and this board is inclined to agree. As a result, a handful of bills are working their way through the Kentucky House and Senate with a mind toward making the experiences of children in the foster care system better, and more normalized.
MD: State sends 5 teens to facility long scrutinized for discipline practices
Washington Post – March 07, 2017
Disability advocates and state lawmakers are questioning why Maryland is sending teenagers with a mix of intellectual disabilities and behavioral disorders to a facility in Massachusetts that has been the subject of complaints over disciplinary practices.
MT: House supports child abuse and neglect review commission
Associated Press – March 07, 2017
Montana Representatives on Tuesday endorsed a bill that would create a commission to review child deaths and near deaths caused by abuse and neglect and make recommendations for changes in child protection policies and practices to prevent further injury and death.
NC: Ex-Sect Members Tell AP: Prosecutors Obstructed Abuse Cases
Associated Press – March 06, 2017
At least a half-dozen times over two decades, authorities investigated reports that members of a secretive North Carolina church were being beaten. And every time, according to former congregants, the orders came down from church leaders: They must lie to protect the sect.
NY: Child sex abuse victims criticize Catholic Church political power
WBAL – March 05, 2017
Victims of child sex abuse in New York say the political power of the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions is preventing lawmakers from passing a law that would relax one of the nation’s tightest statutes of limitations on filing criminal charges and lawsuits.
OR: Secretary of State takes aim at foster care system
Statesman Journal – March 07, 2017
The Oregon secretary of state’s office is starting an audit on the state’s foster care program, putting the child welfare agency in the middle of yet another investigation.
PA: More counties consider cutting ties with agency connected to Sara Packer (Includes video)
WFMZ – March 07, 2017
On its website, Impact Project boasts about winning the Program of the Year award from Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Judges Commission. Now, the private foster care agency is coming under fire. The agency serves 400 kids per year in nine counties.
Also: Lehigh County dumps Impact Project over reports of inaction in Sara Packer abuse: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-lehigh-cuts-impact-packer-20170307-story.html
TX: Infosys Public Services and Texas Department of Family & Protective Services to Modernize State’s Child Welfare Information System (Press release)
PRNewswire – March 08, 2017
In Phase 2 of IMPACT Modernization, the IMPACT system will be modernized into a modular, mobile-enabled application with automated workflows and self-service capabilities for Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing, and Prevention and Early Intervention program areas. This will improve efficiency and effectiveness of caseworkers, streamline operations, and reduce their administrative burden, enabling them to spend more time with their clients.
WI: New facility opens to treat girls who have been sex trafficked
WisBusiness.com – March 07, 2017
In response to the growing epidemic of sex trafficking, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS) has opened Transitions, a new residential treatment center for girls who have been victimized by sex trafficking.
US: Education Instability a Symptom of Bigger Foster Care Problem (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – March 07, 2017
It is much easier for Congress to impose an unfunded mandate than to address the roots of the educational stability problem: a lack of foster homes in or near the communities from which children are removed. And it’s easier for the media to expose a jurisdiction’s failure to implement a policy than to report on the complex reality that makes it so hard to implement.
Australia: Government officials questioned at abuse inquiry over mandatory reporting (Audio)
ABC Online – March 08, 2017
The child abuse royal commission has heard there are significant gaps in the legislation that’s intended to keep children across Australia safe.
CT: Data on Children’s Programs Inform Budget and Policy Decisions
Pew Charitable Trusts – March 06, 2017
Connecticut has set an example for data-driven decision-making since the state began engaging in Results-Based Accountability (RBA) in 2005. RBA-a budgeting technique that helps policymakers use data on program outcomes to inform their funding decisions-has become a part of the state’s appropriations process.
Also: How States Engage in Evidence-Based Policymaking: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2017/01/how-states-engage-in-evidence-based-policymaking
GA: Bill revises Ga. adoption law
Marietta Daily Journal – March 04, 2017
Georgia’s adoption code may soon get an update. Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, has introduced a 100-page bill that he said will “modernize” adoption law. “The last time that Georgia’s adoption law was substantially worked on was 1990,” Reeves said. “So in the last 27 years, there have been a lot of changes, there have been a lot of adoption cases that have demonstrated flaws in our code section that have demonstrated a need for clarity in our code section. So what the goal was was to do a substantial revision or modernization of the code section and bring it up to 2017, essentially.”
IN: Agencies scramble to find more foster parents
Associated Press – March 06, 2017
A January report from the Indiana Department of Child Services shows there are nearly 1,000 children in need of service in Monroe, Brown, Greene, Owen and Lawrence counties. More than 460 of those children live in Monroe County.
KY: Bill Set to Protect Foster Children Moves Forward (Includes video)
WTVW – March 06, 2017
Under a new bill making its way through the Kentucky legislature, a child placed in foster care would not have to switch schools-even if the foster home is outside the child’s school district.
NY: CPS Overworked? Finding the Fix to Institutional Problems (Includes video)
TWC News – March 04, 2017
“We don’t need to scapegoat and start firing people,” she said. “We need to band together as a community and say we all need to put our kids first.” “If you were going to ID the biggest issue would be poverty,” policy analyst Brigit Hurley said.
OR: Foster Youth Fight to Strengthen Sibling Connections
Public – March 06, 2017
Maintaining and strengthening sibling bonds was the goal of 31 current and former foster youth who gathered earlier this month at the Advocacy Convening organized by Oregon Foster Youth Connection (OFYC). A program of Children first for Oregon, OFYC empowers and trains youth to actively participate in the development of policies, programs, and practices that improve the lives of kids in foster care.
OR: Report: Child welfare review teams under microscope
Merced Sun-Star – March 06, 2017
Barely three days after 12-year-old Caden Berry of Keizer died, the head of Oregon’s child welfare agency ordered a full review of the agency’s interactions with his family.
Also: Report: Child welfare agency struggled to fix problems: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5126903-151/report-child-welfare-agency-struggled-to-fix-problems?referrer=fpblob
OR: 44 children left in harm’s way: Oregon’s child welfare agency struggled to fix problems
Statesman Journal – March 04, 2017
Clyde Saiki, director of the state Department of Human Services, wanted to know if “system issues” may have prevented the state from saving the boy’s life. DHS has publicly published reviews for at least 44 children since 2004, involving children the agency knew of who died or were severely injured.
TX: Democratic lawmaker says Texas CPS workloads make ‘a travesty’ of child protection
Dallas Morning News – March 06, 2017
The bill would encourage CPS to hire 893 more employees over the next two years and create an additional 825 slots at sister agencies such as Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing and the unit that operates the protective services department’s hotline for reporting abuse, the Legislative Budget Board has estimated.
TX: Keough: Compromise ensure CPS reform (Opinion)
Houston Chronicle – March 06, 2017
During the State of the State Address delivered earlier this session, Gov. Abbott made reforming CPS an emergency item. The House already had committed to major CPS reforms ahead of his address and a workgroup was appointed to dive deep into the problems facing the Department of Family and Protective Services.
TX: Program brings hope for child abuse and neglect prevention
Corpus Christi Caller-Times – March 06, 2017
Academic success and a stable home environment go hand-in-hand, said Karen Turner, associate director for early childhood education at the Education Service Center Region 2. So when state grants became available to start a child abuse and neglect prevention program at the center, it was a no-brainer for ESC-2 to apply.
TX: Mosley: Panhandle-area needs more foster families (Opinion)
Amarillo Globe News – March 05, 2017
Right now there is a severe statewide shortage of foster parents for older youth ages 14 to 18, sibling groups of three or more, and children with serious medical needs such as seizures and diabetes. Children and youth dealing with aggression, sexual abuse, self-harming behaviors and a history of drug use are particularly vulnerable, and need especially well-trained and supportive foster homes.
UT: Foster parents on new bill: ‘It’s not allowing us to do our job to protect’ kids
KSL – March 03, 2017
“When he left our home and went to his birth mom’s home, all of a sudden our relationship was cut off and we were no longer involved with the case,” Prestwich said. “We felt that the state and the courts had an obligation to help facilitate that relationship – that’s how the bill came about.”
WA: Slavery in the Shadows
Catalyst – Bozzi Media – March 06, 2017
Sex trafficking, a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud or coercion, particularly of underage victims, operates in the shadows of every U.S. state and around the world. No dedicated housing for sex trafficking victims exists in the Spokane area. Locally, underage survivors may be placed in foster care or at transitional housing facilities like Crosswalk Teen Shelter. Adult survivors often find housing at transitional housing facilities.
WA: Measure Would Help Sex Trafficking Victims Clear Convictions
Associated Press – March 04, 2017
The Washington Senate has passed a measure that would allow victims of trafficking to vacate prostitution convictions regardless if other offenses exist on their criminal record. Under existing state law, victims cannot expunge prostitution convictions if other crimes exist on their criminal record.
WI: Senate Set to Vote on Youth Prison Reporting Bill
Associated Press – March 07, 2017
The state Senate is set to vote on a bill that would force guards at Wisconsin’s troubled youth prison to report child abuse.
Also: Guards at juvenile prison complex would become mandated reporters under measure: http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/06/guards-would-become-mandatory-reporters-under-measure/98804884/
US: DHS Secretary John Kelly says if border-crossing families are split up, the kids ‘will be well cared for as we deal with their parents’
Week Magazine – March 06, 2017
Last Friday, U.S. officials floated a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to separate parents caught crossing into the U.S. illegally from any children they have with them, detaining them separately as a punitive way to discourage immigration from violence-torn Central America. On Monday, DHS Secretary John Kelly confirmed that he is seriously considering the plan, explaining that his goal is really to protect the children. “Let me start by saying I would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America to getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday evening.
US: Grandparents have many things to consider when raising grandchildren
Enid News and Eagle – March 05, 2017
There are a number of legal and financial issues to consider. Although you may have physical custody of the child, you may or may not have the legal authority to make decisions for that child. It is crucial that you discuss these issues with the child’s parents and try to agree on how to proceed with the custody arrangement. In most cases, it is important to seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights, and the rights of the child, are protected.
US: Released documents shed light on how US Gymnastics handled sexual misconduct complaints (Includes video)
Click on Detroit – March 04, 2017
Hundreds of pages of documents unsealed today provide new insight into how USA Gymnastics handled accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against its coaches. The newly-released documents include files USA Gymnastics kept on complaints about 54 coaches.
Netherlands: Why international adoption should not yet be terminated (Opinion)
I am Expat – March 07, 2017
t has been scientifically proven that adoption is better for a child’s well being than growing up in a children’s shelter. And for a small group of children, inter-country adoption is a real option, since there are many couples keen to adopt in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, inter-country and interracial adoption entered the scene in the 1970s, due to television broadcasts showing the suffering of children in war zones such as Korea.
South Africa: Child Welfare crisis not affecting George
George Herald – March 07, 2017
The financial crisis facing Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA) has no effect on the day-to-day running and services offered by the local organisation known as George Child and Family Welfare (GCW), says the director, Sue du Toit. She clarified the agreement that GCW has with CWSA. “George is a completely autonomous and financially independent affiliate of CWSA. We do all our own fundraising and are managed by our own management board.”
CA: LA County voters to decide on quarter-cent sales tax to fund homeless programs
Los Angles Daily News – March 05, 2017
The Los Angeles County Sales Tax for Homeless Services and Prevention, also known as Measure H, proposes a quarter-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $355 million a year for 10 years to help homeless people transition into planned affordable housing, officials have said.
CA: Acosta Bill Introduced To Give Grants To Foster Children
KHTS – March 03, 2017
Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, introduced legislation that creates a new program to fund school activities and extracurriculars for foster children.
CO: Care in crisis: Matthews House caseload doubled in 2 years (Includes video)
Coloradoan – March 03, 2017
Jasmine is part of a growing number of people getting help from The Matthew House, which works with families and youth at risk of experiencing poverty, homelessness and other crises. Last year, it served 2,135 people, a 38 percent increase from 2015. In 2010, the agency served 98 people.
CT: Safety plans and strength-based child protection (Opinion)
Connecticut Post – March 03, 2017
The objective of any child welfare agency is to keep children at home whenever safely possible. But let’s be clear: there is no such thing as a family in which a child has zero risk, especially those who are the subject of a report of abuse or neglect. So if a child is not facing a high, or even moderate risk to his or her safety, the child welfare agency will work to engage the family to mitigate those risks wherever possible.
IA: Grandparents fight for visitation rights
Hawk Eye – March 05, 2017
“The first time I got to see my grandson was over six months to a year ago,” Statler said. “He didn’t know me. He hid behind his dad’s leg.” That’s why Statler recently started a Grandparents Rights group. Under Iowa law, grandparents have few rights to visit their grandchildren if the parents don’t allow it, and for a while, Statler couldn’t arrange a meeting to see his grandson. “That’s what motivated me, after I found out I had no rights,” Statler said.
MA: Bakhita House — Saving women from human trafficking
Boston Pilot – March 03, 2017
The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) gave a priority to educating ourselves and others about the reality of human trafficking in our own area. We learned from law enforcement that the greatest need in the Boston area was for a safe house for women rescued from trafficking situations. After much prayer, consultation, and work to establish a non-profit corporation, find a house, and establish a staff, Bakhita House opened in 2011. Twenty-one congregations whose members serve in the Greater Boston area collaborated to found and support this new ministry.
MO: Tiniest victims of heroin epidemic flood into foster care in Missouri
Crescent-News – March 05, 2017
The tiny babies typically arrive at Jill Bundschuh’s foster home in Rock Hill, Mo., around her family’s dinner time. Social workers bring them on short notice, with maybe some formula and a few diapers. There are no extra onesies. No swaddling blankets. No car seats. The paperwork is usually sparse beyond a name and maybe a few clues about the baby’s first few days or weeks of life. Bundschuh knows from experience to quickly read the hospital notes before the caseworker leaves with the file.
MO: Girls Town plans new program
Fulton Sun – March 03, 2017
Because state funding is now overlooking treatment facilities like Girls Town in favor of foster care, the facility is redefining itself and the services it offers, according to Interim Director of Operations Jenny Preiss.
NC: Durham County officials shine a light on foster care, costs
Durham Herald Sun – March 05, 2017
Last year, $1.8 million was sought from Durham County to support foster care services related to projected growth, said Durham County Department of Social Services Director.
NC: Moore County DSS director resigns amid toddler death probe
Fayetteville Observer – March 02, 2017
An investigation into Rylan Ott’s death was critical of DSS, saying social workers were overloaded with cases and citing other ‘significant failures.’ Rylan, who was just shy of his second birthday, wandered from home and drowned in a pond last year.
NH: Opioid Deaths Spike Again in NH: How Many are Suicides? (Includes audio)
Public News Service – March 06, 2017
New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Andrew added that New Hampshire ranks close to the bottom among states for access to addiction treatment. He said he thinks it is a factor not only in overdoses, but in addicts’ decisions to end their lives.
NV: Bill would extend limitations for child sexual abuse victims to sue
Las Vegas Review Journal – March 01, 2017
Victims of child sexual abuse lined up to testify before Nevada lawmakers Wednesday, recounting crimes they endured decades ago. Many would gain nothing from Assembly Bill 145, but it would empower future victims, they said.
NY: CUNY initiative aims to help youths from foster care succeed in college
Metro – March 05, 2017
Williams is fulfilling her high-school goal. She’s enrolled at the college as part of CUNY’s innovative Start/ASAP Foster Care Initiative, a program funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to help young people like Williams pursue associate’s degrees at one of CUNY’s colleges. Partnering with NYC foster agencies and local community organizations, the Initiative offers tuition assistance, weekly MetroCards, paid on-campus internships, and advisory guidance to foster-care students aged 17-21.
NY: Catholic church seeks $100m loan to pay sexual abuse victims
Reuters – March 01, 2017
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is seeking permission for a $100m mortgage on some of its valuable Manhattan property to fund its compensation program for people sexually abused by its priests, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
OR: Families: The hidden homeless
Register-Guard – March 05, 2017
Families are part of the hidden homeless in Lane County. They don’t fit the stereotype of people flying signs at intersections or hanging out in downtown Eugene. Even people they encounter every day – co-workers, teachers, fellow students – may not know these families are homeless.
Information Gateway resource: Housing & Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/housing/childwelfare/
PA: Commentary: A fresh start for former foster-care youths
Philadelphia Inquirer – March 06, 2017
Every day, America’s foster care system cuts off social services to 60 young people like Sherreiff. They have become legal adults – but in many ways are woefully unprepared for the adult world.
PA: Philadelphia stops billing parents for cost of their children’s incarceration
Times-Picayune – March 03, 2017
Heather Keafer, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, said the decision to stop charging parents will go into effect immediately. The agency already said late Thursday it plans to end its contract with Steve Kaplan, a private attorney who since 1998 has been collecting from parents on behalf of Philadelphia – earning up to $316,000 a year in salary and bonuses, more than any city employee. His contract will end March 31. “Our priority is to reunify families safely and quickly, and this decision is a great move forward toward that goal,” DHS Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa said in a statement.
PA: Sanctuary bill in Pa. could cost Westmoreland County up to $65 million
Pittsburgh Tribune Review – March 03, 2017
The law, if passed, would slash hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies to cities and counties that refuse detention requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Kopas wants the county to formally oppose the legislation. Westmoreland County since 2014 has refused to accept immigration detainees at its jail. Doing so would put the county at risk of potential lawsuits from any immigrants illegally detained by the federal government, according to a memorandum released three years ago by the county solicitor’s office.
TX: Unaccompanied children housing continues to multiply in the Valley
Monitor – March 04, 2017
Despite years of increased border security and mass deportations, the flood of children entering the United States from other countries without an adult guardian continues to pour over the Rio Grande. This ongoing scenario forces officials who are tasked with caring for these unaccompanied minors to continue finding places to house them.
TX: Despite Warnings, the Texas Legislature Plans to Privatize Much of the Child Welfare System
Texas Observer – March 03, 2017
Pressure from the governor to get CPS reforms passed quickly has hushed most criticism of the $279 million privatization plan. Lawmakers have expressed trepidation with further outsourcing foster care, but pressure from the governor to get CPS reforms passed quickly has hushed most criticism.
TX: House, Senate unanimously pass measures overhauling child welfare system (Includes video)
KBTX – March 03, 2017
The simultaneous debates in both chambers came as advocates have pushed for months for lawmakers to take drastic measures to fix the state’s broken child welfare system. Gov. Greg Abbott announced the issue as one of four emergency items during his State of the State address in January.
Related: Foster care reform, one step closer: http://delrionewsherald.com/opinion/article_2cdc5e0e-ffb1-11e6-a5e1-fb9d409956fd.html
Also: Charles Schwertner files bill toward child welfare reform: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/charles-schwertner-files-bill-toward-child-welfare-reform/MIPvJLTcPSxMMuecCziC2O/
Also: State of Texas: In-depth – Paying to Protect Children (Includes video): http://kxan.com/2017/03/05/state-of-texas-paying-to-protect-children/
TX: Instead of Help, This Teen Sex Trafficking Victim Got Jail Time
Good Housekeeping – March 03, 2017
Texas has just one facility devoted to child sex-trafficking victims, called Freedom Place. It can only afford to treat 20 girls at any given time, and it won’t accept kids who’ve been picked up by police in the middle of the night. Other residential treatment centers in the state provide specialized care for foster kids who may have behavioral and emotional problems. But they aren’t equipped to treat the type of trauma sex-trafficking victims have been through. They’re also hesitant to take chronic runaways; Lena had fled such facilities several times before
TX: Proposed state budget cuts could potentially displace those with special needs (Includes video)
CBS 7 – March 03, 2017
State budget cuts are inevitable every year and even more are expected for 2018. But it’s proposed cutbacks from the Health and Human Services Commission that are causing many organizations in Midland to take notice. The state of Texas is proposing a 21-percent cutback to both Home and Community Services and Texas Home Living Waiver Services. Both are categories in which MARC falls under. “I think legislators need to think twice before they start slashing those that can’t help themselves,” Foster parent of MARC Bob Templeton said.
UT: Foster parents on new bill: ‘It’s not allowing us to do our job to protect’ kids
KSL – March 03, 2017
The bill is HB145, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan. It was amended earlier after feedback from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and foster parents. “It makes the sibling visible to the court and a possibility that the court can consider when determining the best interest of the child,” Ivory said. However, determining the best interest of a child is complicated. “It’s a challenging area because you don’t want to disturb rights in another family,” Ivory added.
WI: Milwaukee County Family Drug Treatment Court draws national support (Press release)
Supreme Court of Wisconsin – March 03, 2017
A growing and successful Milwaukee County court program is being recognized nationally as a model for its family – centered, team approach to the handling of child abuse or neglect cases in which parental substance abuse is a contributing factor.
WI: Oneida County Social Services looks to fill vacancies
Norwood River News – March 03, 2017
The Oneida County Social Services department received permission from the ocial services committee to fill two vacancies at its meeting on Tuesday. Both vacancies, one for a social worker job in the long term care and delinquency unit, and the other as an aide, are due to transfers.
US: Activists calling for greater home-school monitoring
Washington Post – March 05, 2017
Hunt and Green are members of a loose network of Washington-area home-schooled adults who are leading a quiet insurgency against what they say are the worst elements of home schooling, from educational neglect to physical and sexual abuse, to debilitating social alienation. Their efforts are scattered and their experiences varied, but a passion for change is what connects them.
US: DHS considering proposal to separate children from adults at border (Includes video)
Cable News Network – March 04, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security is considering a proposal to separate children from adults when they are trying to enter the country illegally at the southern border, a senior DHS official confirmed to CNN on Friday.
US: Parental Satisfaction at Work May Reduce Potential for Child Abuse or Neglect
Chronicle of Social Change – March 03, 2017
While parental unemployment is a known risk factor for child abuse and neglect, a new study finds that a parent’s satisfaction in the workplace may play an even more important role. The findings, published this January in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, are based on a study of mothers referred by Child Protective Services to a treatment program for child neglect and substance abuse. To gauge a parent’s risk of being reported for child abuse researchers used an assessment tool called the Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAPI).
US: Undocumented parents are rushing to find guardians for their kids in case they’re deported
Fusion.net – March 03, 2017
Undocumented parents are looking to arrange legal guardians for their children as the threat of deportation under the Trump administration looms, Reuters reports. Parents are increasingly asking advocates to help them arrange legal guardianships as a safety measure in case they’re unexpectedly deported. One organization, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the news agency they’re receiving 10 such requests per day, compared to roughly two requests per month last year.
Also: Parents fearing deportation pick guardians for U.S. children: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-parents-idUSKBN16A16V
US: Unsealed documents reveal what USA Gymnastics knew about sex abuse complaints (Includes video)
WTHR – March 03, 2017
We have new insight into how the organization responsible for training thousands of Olympic hopefuls handled accusations of sexual misconduct brought against some of its coaches. Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics kept files over the years with complaints against 54 of its coaches.
Statement from USA Gymnastics: https://usagym.org/pages/post.html?PostID=19818&prog=h
US: Homelessness Leads to Justice System and Vice Versa, New Report Details
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – March 01, 2017
The connection between youth homelessness and the juvenile system is the subject of a sweeping new study by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and several of its partners. The report makes recommendations for policymakers, law enforcement and youth advocates and provides broad insights into a problem that has plagued juveniles for decades.
Report: Youth Homelessness and Juvenile Justice: Opportunities for Collaboration and Impact: http://www.juvjustice.org/sites/default/files/resource-files/policy%20brief_FINAL.compressed.pdf
Also: Study Links Homelessness With Juvenile Justice System: http://thecrimereport.org/2017/03/02/study-links-homelessness-with-juvenile-justice-system/
International: The Intersection Between the Worldwide Refugee Crisis and Human Trafficking
Social Work Helper – March 01, 2017
The worldwide refugee crisis, largely spurred by the historic mass migration of people from war-torn Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, are seeking refuge around the world. Many of these individuals are unaccompanied minors and are at even greater risk of exploitation with no social support from their family and sometimes no support from the host country where they are seeking refuge. Some of these individuals have been targeted by human traffickers who are taking this opportunity to exploit their vulnerability.
Iran: More Abandoned Children Finding Families
Financial Tribune (Iran) – March 06, 2017
The rate of child adoption in the country has seen a 35% increase over the past two years since the new law on adoption was approved in 2015 to facilitate the growth and development of abandoned children or orphans in a family environment.
Solomon Islands: Solomon Islands tightens its child adoption laws
Radio New Zealand – March 06, 2017
The Solomon Islands parliament has tightened the conditions for non-residents who want to adopt local children. Under amendments to the adoption act, removing a child from the Solomon Islands for the purposes of adoption now requires a court order. The court must first ensure there are no other suitable arrangements available in the country.
United Kingdom: Child neglect law to be modernised
Journal of the Law Society of Scotland – March 03, 2017
Emotional abuse and neglect of children will be the subject of new modern legislation, Scotland’s Minister for Childcare and Early Years has announced. Minister Mark McDonald said the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 would be updated to recognise the impact of emotional abuse and neglect, as well as physical harm.
United Kingdom: Huge government u-turn as ministers make an ‘unprecedented climb down’ on ‘dangerous’ plans to weaken child protection laws drawn up after Victoria Climbie and Baby P scandals
Daily Mail – March 03, 2017
Education Secretary Justine Greening has scrapped reforms to child protection laws drawn up after that the Victoria Climbie and Baby P scandals. Critics branded the changes ‘dangerous’ because they would have allowed individual councils to opt out of a series of rules imposed to improve child protection.
Vatican City: Abuse Victim Quits Vatican Commission, Citing ‘Resistance’
New York Times – March 01, 2017
Marie Collins, who was molested by a priest in Ireland when she was 13, expressed frustration over what she called reluctance among the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy to implement the commission’s recommendations – even those approved by the pope.
Also: Report: Key Vatican sex abuse commission member quits: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/01/europe/vatican-sex-abuse-collins-resigns/index.html
Also: Sex abuse victim quits Pope Francis’ commission to protect minors (Video): http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/sex-abuse-victim-quits-pope-francis-commission-to-protect-minors/
Also: Cardinal O’Malley says voices of clergy sexual abuse survivors are critical: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/02/cardinal-malley-says-voices-clergy-sexual-abuse-survivors-are-critical/9gs3GnMU1m1rp5z4mMDqiI/story.html
CO: State corrections staff wrap youths in straitjackets, subdue with knee strikes, report says
Denver Post – March 02, 2017
The “culture of violence” at the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections is not only unsafe for teens and staff, but is further torment to youths who suffered abuse and neglect before they were sent behind bars, says the report from the Colorado Child Safety Coalition that calls for immediate reforms.
FL: Weeks after foster teen’s suicide, child welfare groups spar over system’s dysfunction (Includes video)
Miami Herald – March 02, 2017
Naika Venant, the 14-year-old foster child whose live-streamed suicide last month became a rallying cry among critics of social media, is taking on another role: poster child for the dysfunctions of Miami’s long-troubled child welfare system.
GA: Legislators work longer hours as ‘Crossover Day’ looms
Times-Georgian – March 02, 2017
House Bill 250, which passed unanimously, would allow foster parent applicants and caregivers to foster children who are early care and education program employees and who have received satisfactory background and fingerprint records checks within the previous 24 months to submit evidence from their employee background and finger print check to the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to satisfy the department’s records check requirements.
MN: More dollars sought to provide legal representation for foster children
Minnesota House of Representatives – March 02, 2017
Children in foster care have a statutory right to legal representation, but how is a minor going to pay for an attorney? Sponsored by Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake), HF1252 would provide $350,000 in Fiscal Year 2018 “to an organization that provides legal representation to children in need of protection or services and children in out-of-home placement.” An equal amount of non-state funds, which could include volunteer attorney time, would be required.
MN: Woman turns life around despite increasing child protection case loads (Includes video)
KBJR – March 02, 2017
Social workers from counties across Minnesota say their case loads have skyrocketed over the last two years. They blame reforms calling for more aggressive intervention. It’s an issue felt in St. Louis County where cases have increased 45 percent over the past two years. Despite the increasing high case loads one worker and client who say they were able to work together to find success.
Information Gateway resource: State and Local Examples: Workload/Caseload: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/workforce/retention/workforce-retention/workload/state-examples/
MO: Tiniest victims of heroin epidemic flood into foster care in Missouri
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – March 03, 2017
Bundschuh made no special request to care for these cases when she signed on to be a foster parent. Nonetheless, she has wound up on the front lines of Missouri’s opioid epidemic, which is sending children at an alarming rate to a state foster care system that is straining to serve them.
NC: Social Services Director Resigns After Investigation Into Rylan Ott Case
Pilot – March 02, 2017
County Social Services Director John Benton submitted his resignation Thursday in the wake of an investigation into how the agency handled the case of a toddler who drowned last spring, four months after being returned to his mother. An independent investigation found that there were “significant failures and omissions” by the department in the Rylan Ott case.
OH: A Breastfeeding Boost Might Improve Ohio’s Infant-Mortality Rate (Includes audio)
Public News Service – March 03, 2017
Ohio ranks 45th among states for infant mortality, and for African-American babies, the rate is even higher. According to a new policy brief from the Children’s Defense Fund Ohio, more than 18 percent of black infants are exclusively breastfed for three months after birth, compared with 41 percent of white infants.
Also: Delivering Better Outcomes for Black Babies through Breastfeeding: http://www.cdfohio.org/research-library/2017/delivering-better-outcomes.pdf
PA: Auditor general launching review of child protection statewide
Daily Item – March 02, 2017
Spurred by revelations of overwhelmed child protection caseworkers in county agencies, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is launching a special investigation into child welfare services across the state.
PA: State behind in checking child abuse clearances (Includes video)
Public Opinion – March 02, 2017
A new Pennsylvania Auditor General’s report says the commonwealth and its counties are not up to date in monitoring child abuse background checks of people who work in or closely with child welfare agencies. That revelation came at the end of an audit that found the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families owes the state almost $600,000 from overbilling and unallowed costs.
TX: CASA brings children’s voices to Texas Capitol
Jacksonville Progress – March 02, 2017
Hundreds of bright blue shirts walked the halls of the Texas Capitol on Feb. 16 as Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, brought their advocacy for children to state legislators. The day was spearheaded by Texas CASA, the statewide network of 72 local programs across Texas that recruit, screen and train volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Together, the local programs serve 213 counties.
VA: Lynchburg nonprofit HumanKind specializes in therapeutic foster care (Includes video)
WDBJ – March 03, 2017
At last report, Lynchburg and surrounding counties have just under 300 children in foster care. HumanKind, a nonprofit agency in Lynchburg, offers a foster care program for children who might be tougher to place.
WA: Carve up DSHS for kids’ sake (Opinion)
News Tribune – March 02, 2017
What if societies were to reorganize in bold, new ways that ordain kids will be the focal point of community life, placing the well-being of children at the hub of all funding and policy decisions? What if Washington government took a page from that playbook? Could it restructure in a way that makes the development of safe, successful children a top state priority, removing other distractions and carving out an agency with an unswerving mission of child welfare?
US: The State of State Health Policy: Governors’ 2017 State of the State Addresses
National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) – March 02, 2017
The vast majority of governors-42 of the 46-addressed health issues in their speeches, with behavioral health and Medicaid as the most common topics. This is the highest number of governors commenting on health issues since NASHP began tracking governors’ speeches in 2015.
AK: Supporting foster care (Audio)
Alaska Public Media – February 27, 2017
The Office of Children’s Services isn’t alone in taking responsibility for child welfare. Volunteers also step up to oversee the foster care system, suggest policy changes, and advocate on behalf of individual kids
CA: Foster Care Youth Need Volunteer Mentors
Los Angeles Sentinel – March 01, 2017
With African American youth comprising 25% of the children in the Los Angeles County foster care system; a call is out to encourage more black adults to become volunteer mentors to these young people.
CA: Republicans should embrace AmeriCorps, not kill it (Opinion)
Sacramento Bee – March 01, 2017
Rather than killing AmeriCorps, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration should embrace it as a federal program that is precisely what we preach – lean, close to home and actually working. Look no further than Sacramento’s hugely successful “Birth and Beyond” program, which draws part of its funding from AmeriCorps, to see this is true. Developed by Sacramento’s Child Abuse Prevention Center in partnership with the county, the program uses local AmeriCorps workers to provide in-home parenting education for at-risk families. Four independent audits have shown that “Birth and Beyond” has essentially eliminated child abuse in the homes served. That too is significant.
FL: Defy me and I’ll jail you, judge in Facebook Live hanging case tells lawyer
Miami Herald – March 01, 2017
A Miami child welfare judge is threatening to jail a lawyer for the Florida Department of Children & Families, suggesting in a strongly worded order that agency attorneys lied to her about the welfare of foster children who may have witnessed a teenager hanging herself at their Miami Garden’s foster home. The suicide was live-streamed on Facebook.
IL: Peoria conference focuses on trauma’s impact on kids, courts and schools
Journal Star – March 01, 2017
Peoria County’s Juvenile Justice Council is interested in starting a teen court or peer juries at local high schools. A task force to study options, including restorative justice practices, had its first meeting last week, said Mark Bronke, Peoria County’s chief juvenile probation officer, who attended the teen court workshop. “We’re in the very early stages,” he said.
IL: Rauner launches jobs website in case of strike
Reuters – March 01, 2017
In preparation for a possible strike by Illinois’ largest union of state workers, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration launched a website yesterday encouraging residents to apply for permanent or temporary state jobs. Union members, who include prison guards, health care providers for veterans and the disabled, child welfare investigators, state highway workers and others, have been without a contract since July 2015. Negotiations with the Republican governor’s administration broke off more than a year ago over issues that include overtime pay, salary increases and health care premiums paid by employees.
IN: Child Abuse, and How You Should React (Includes video)
WAWV – March 01, 2017
A majority of the child abuse cases in Indiana occur close to home. In 2015, Vigo County had the third highest child abuse ration in the state. There’s something you can learn to help.
Information Gateway resource: How to Report Suspected Child Maltreatment: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/how/
MA: Abuse scandal at Milton Academy was 30 years in the making
Boston Globe – March 01, 2017
It wasn’t until last week that Milton finally revealed that for 14 years it employed an alleged serial predator. In a bombshell letter, school leaders wrote that a nine-month investigation by a New York security consultant had determined that Buono, who taught drama and English, had molested at least a dozen male students at Milton Academy. Some people are wondering why it took Milton Academy so long to disclose Buono’s pattern of alleged abuses.
ME: Whose job is it to protect children in Maine? (Opinion)
Republican Journal – March 01, 2017
There is an approach in Maine called Community Partnerships for Protecting Children. This approach has been gaining momentum in Maine for several years and is about to take a leap forward. To augment six existing community/neighborhood models, DHHS contracted with providers to expand the approach within the state.
MO: LFCS Names Charles M. Duggar President and CEO (Press release)
Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri – February 28, 2017
Following a nationwide search, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri Board of Directors has selected Charles “Mike” Duggar as the agency’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. He will begin his leadership of LFCS on March 27, 2017.
NC: Highlights of Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed state budget (Press release)
Associated Press – March 01, 2017
Highlights of the $23.5 billion spending plan for the 2017-18 fiscal year contained in the two-year budget proposal that Gov. Roy Cooper released Wednesday. Unless otherwise noted, spending figures are for the amount spent or saved in 2017-18 compared to what was projected or needed to keep operating at current levels: $8.7 million to continue child welfare program improvements.
NY: Mother of Brook Stagles files notice of claim to sue Monroe Co. (Includes video)
WHAM – February 28, 2017
The mother of a Greece toddler who investigators say died from severe child abuse has filed a notice of claim to sue Monroe County.
PA: Kenney offers painless Philly spending plan
Newsworks – March 02, 2017
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will present his annual budget address to City Council Thursday, offering a spending plan with no tax increases and modest increases in targeted city services. Among the expanded services Kenney proposes: 10 new Child Welfare lawyers and an increase in payment rates for foster families.
PA: Action News Investigates: Judge allows mother to visit child she’s accused of abusing
WTAE – March 01, 2017
At 14 months old, Gabriella Berry was in a Pittsburgh hospital with a fractured skull, a stroke and a torn carotid artery. Her father and grandmother say the system that is supposed to protect Gabby failed her, and they cannot understand why the girl’s mother is allowed partial custody of a child she’s accused of abusing.
TX: Bills addressing Child Protective Services unanimously pass out of their chambers
Daily Texan – March 02, 2017
Two House bills and a Senate bill that would change the way Child Protective Services operates in Texas unanimously passed out of their respective chambers Wednesday afternoon.
Also: Texas lawmakers advance bills to privatize more foster care, boost ‘kinship’ pay: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/child-protective-services/2017/03/01/texas-lawmakers-advance-bills-privatize-foster-care-boost-kinship-pay
Also: Texas considering Child Protective Services overhaul (Includes video): http://www.kens5.com/news/politics/texas-considering-child-protective-services-overhaul/417412263
Also: Senate Passes DFPS Reform Bill: http://www.guidrynews.com/story.aspx?id=1000082227
Also: Child Protective Services bill passes Texas House: http://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/local/2017/03/01/child-protective-services-bill-passes-texas-house/98604922/
Also: Governor Abbott Statement On Texas Legislative Action On Child Welfare System Reform (Press release): http://gov.texas.gov/news/press-release/23223
TX: CPS bills advance, despite drama over immigration
Observer – March 02, 2017
Three pieces of legislation designed to correct life-threatening deficiencies in the state’s child welfare system cleared major legislative hurdles Wednesday, but a heated and often emotional sideshow over immigration status nearly overshadowed the plight of the youngsters in danger.
Also: Republican’s Attempt to Hijack CPS Reform with ‘Racist’ Amendment Backfires (Opinion): https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-republican-wants-cry-gop-colleagues-attempt-hijack-cps-reform-immigration-amendment/
TX: Ex-foster parents’ sexual assault charges dismissed
El Paso Times – March 01, 2017
Charges against two longtime foster parents arrested in 2015 for allegedly sexually assaulting two children in their custody years prior were dismissed this week.
TX: Foster families and children need advocates
Baptist Standard – March 01, 2017
Texas faces a foster care crisis, but Christians can make a difference through advocacy and by offering support to caregivers, workshop leaders told participants at the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission Advocacy Day in Austin.
TX: Tarrant County Leaders Lobby Lawmakers in Austin (Includes video)
NBCDFW – March 01, 2017
Mayors and elected officials from Tarrant County descended on the State Capitol in Austin Wednesday to lobby lawmakers on property tax reform and other issues. Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said other issues are also important, like fixing the state’s child welfare agency and suggested relations with some lawmakers are strained.
WI: Retired Lincoln Hills Employee Speaks Out
WSAU-WAOW – March 01, 2017
As federal investigations into abuse allegations at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prison facilities continue, a former youth counselor claims that things aren’t as they seem. Doug Curtis retired from the prison last October and tells WAOW Newsline 9 that the work became very frustrating.
India: In Delhi jeans factory, children hit with hammer and made to work for 22 hours
Hindustan Times – March 02, 2017
Shyam (10) is unable to walk properly after four years of sitting at just one place 22 hours a day. Lucky (10), could not open his eyes when he saw the sunlight first time in four years. They were beaten with hammers for reasons such as cooking extra rice, dozing off at work and even trying to go to the washroom during work.
AL: Montgomery authorities see significant increase in child abuse, neglect cases (Includes video)
WSFA – February 28, 2017
Child advocacy workers say they are seeing a spike in child neglect cases, something this region hadn’t reported until 2016. They are using this case to ask everyone to be more aware of their surroundings, especially children in their neighborhood.
CT: Years After Children Taken Away, Couple Fighting DCF Over “Predictive Neglect” (Includes video)
Hartford Courant – February 28, 2017
The Department of Children and Families went to the hospital and removed their two sons at birth under the controversial doctrine of “predictive neglect.” It means the agency decided that Karin Hasemann and Joey Watley would not be able to take care of the boys, based on mental-health diagnoses made by DCF psychologists.
IA: State lawmakers question child welfare protections
Courier – February 28, 2017
An Iowa teenager brought spectators to tears Monday as she recounted a heart-wrenching tale of her years of abuse as a foster child that one legislator said points out weaknesses in the state’s child welfare protections.
KY: Bill aimed at helping foster children wins final approval
Republic – February 28, 2017
Kentucky children could be placed with close family friends after being removed from their homes under a bill that has won final legislative approval.
Also: Information Gateway resource: About Kinship Care: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/kinship/about/
NY: Clinic for Young Children Who Experience Trauma Opens in Brownsville
DNA Info – February 23, 2017
A clinic focusing on children younger than 5 who have suffered emotional trauma has opened in Brownsville. The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services opened the clinic at the end of January in conjunction with dozens of community partners and government agencies, organizers said.
OR: After almost a decade, DHS adopts rules mandated by law
Statesman Journal – February 26, 2017
The state agency in charge of child welfare services this month adopted rules on investigations into its worst cases. The move comes after the Oregon Department of Human Services failed for almost a decade to comply with state law on the matter.
SD: Religious protection bill could deter same-sex adoption (Includes video)
Argus Leader – February 28, 2017
Approving protections for religious and faith-based adoption agencies that deny child placement to same-sex couples and single parents could have a chilling effect on gay couples’ desire to foster or adopt, a national expert said Tuesday.
SD: State Child Welfare: Where Kangaroo Court Is Always in Session (Opinion)
Youth Today – February 28, 2017
Today, of course, people no longer say that the goal of child welfare is to “kill the Indian, save the man.” But whatever the intent, a series of federal court rulings from South Dakota make clear that Native children remain in danger from a state child welfare system out of control.
TN: Department of Children’s Services adds foster family support
Commercial Appeal – February 28, 2017
The department plans to recruit a minimum of 100 forever homes for children, increase the number of foster parents by 10 percent and engage five percent of the faith community to support foster families, Hommrich said.
TX: Privatizing Child Protective Services Would Be Bad for Texas (Opinion)
UT News – February 28, 2017
Properly funded, CPS can do the job. Gov. Greg Abbott and the state Legislature are moving to provide adequate funding. We just need to give CPS time to deploy these new resources. If instead we privatize CPS, things will only get worse.
TX: The Brief: Texas has an alarming maternal death rate. Now what?
Texas Tribune – February 28, 2017
Texas’ maternal mortality rates nearly doubled between 2010 and 2014 – but lawmakers have had few conversations around the issue since the legislative session began.
UT: Bill to study, address homelessness among children advances
Salt Lake Tribune – February 28, 2017
Representatives voted 73-0 for HB283, and sent it to the Senate for consideration. Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, said his bill would ask a current state task force studying intergenerational poverty to address homelessness among children – and said little data exists now about the causes.
VA: Bristol, Va. records significant increase in child abuse cases (Includes video)
WCYB-TV – February 28, 2017
In about three months, Bristol, Virginia authorities tell us they have already worked more than 20 child abuse cases in the city. Investigators say it is a problem they have seen increasing over the past several years.
WA: Bill to guarantee foster kids legal representation stalls in committee
Pacific Northwest Inlander – February 28, 2017
Abused or neglected children in Washington likely won’t be guaranteed legal representation any time soon, after a bill that would have automatically appointed them an attorney in dependency proceedings failed to make it out of committee in the state legislature.
WI: Lincoln Hills allegations could put juvenile corrections officers on list of mandatory child abuse reporters (Includes video)
WKOW TV – February 28, 2017
An FBI investigation into claims of abuse at the facilities started in December 2015 and is still ongoing. That probe has focused on suspected abuse of juvenile prisoners, including incidents of excessive use of force, child neglect and sexual assault, and retaliation against accusers.
Also: Lawmakers consider bill to require Wisconsin juvenile corrections officers to report child abuse: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/election-matters/lawmakers-consider-bill-to-require-wisconsin-juvenile-corrections-officers-to/article_2588ff77-9632-5a03-aaf4-c825fbfebb49.html
Also: Information Gateway resource: Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/manda/
US: Adoption agency’s demise sheds light on troubled industry
MSN News US – February 28, 2017
Among the larger private adoption agencies, California-based IAC, which had offices in eights states, said in its Feb. 3 bankruptcy filing that 1,886 adoptions in varying stages of the process had been affected by the agency’s closure. A week later, it updated that count significantly to more than 3,200 families and individuals.
United Kingdom: Study shows huge postcode disparity in proportion of children in care
Medical Xpress – February 28, 2017
Children in the poorest areas of the UK are at least 10 times more likely than those in the most affluent to become involved in the child protection system, according to a report by seven British universities. It finds ‘strong social gradients’ in the rates of intervention across the UK: a step increase in neighbourhood deprivation increases a child’s chances of being either taken into care or on a child protection plan by around a third.
Vatican: Marie Collins resigns from Vatican child protection body
Irish Times – March 01, 2017
Abuse survivor Marie Collins has resigned from the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors due to frustration with some officials in the Roman curia. Her resignation takes effect from today.